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Bad Words (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Bad Words

Bad Words

BAD WORDS (2014)

Starring Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Amanda Anka, Rohan Chand, Philip Baker Hall, Allison Janney, Ben Falcone, Steve Witting, Anjul Nigam, Rachael Harris, Beth Grant, Anjul Nigam, Patricia Belcher, Judith Hoag, Kimleigh Smith, Emily Sarah Carlson and Bob Stephenson.

Screenplay by Andrew Dodge.

Directed by Jason Bateman.

Distributed by Focus Features. 88 minutes. Rated R.

Bad Words – Jason Bateman’s directorial debut – is aptly named.

It’s not a movie for kids, which is ironic, because most of the actors in it are children.

The movie has a seemingly basic premise, but it’s much more complex than it seems. It’s no Inception, but it’s a lot more intricate than The Hangover.

Without going into too much detail (Hello, SPOILERS)… Guy Trilby is a forty-year-old man with a bad attitude and a strange hobby. Well, he treats it as a job almost, which works since he is currently unemployed. Guy has found a loophole within the respected organization that runs spelling bees. Since he never passed the eighth grade, he is still eligible to compete.

And he is unnaturally good.

Of course, there is an uproar from parents, administrators, and other contestants involved. This is displayed in a hilarious, and yet not overly outrageous manner. The reactions and behaviors of the parents and administrators is overbearing and intense, which oddly makes them relatable and understandable.

Though some aspects of the film seem a bit predictable – Guy becomes a little more human and we grow to understand him – there are still many twists and turns in the story that will keep you interested.

One of the standout performances comes from Kathryn Hahn. She plays a crazy reporter for an online news platform who is covering Guy’s journey. She uncovers things about him little by little, and as she does, the story really gains momentum.

We discover about Guy and what makes him the incredible jerk that he is, but also we learn to root for him (until of course, he ruins that) even through his unconventional ways.

It’s interesting to see Bateman, a normally likable guy, play an angrier role than he normally takes on.  It’s a different vibe for the actor, and yet he makes it very believable.

Another great performance comes from Rohan Chand, who plays Chaitanya Chopra, a ten year old with whom Trilby becomes friends. Not only is Chand absolutely ADORABLE, but he’s convincing in the role.  He’s dorky and sweet and he’s totally believable as a little spelling bee nerd who befriends a forty year old man.

Overall, it was a little cliché and predictable, but for a comedy, Bad Words is simple and effective. I liked it, I didn’t love it. Go see it, but be warned; there’s a lot of cursing and even some nudity, so don’t bring your kids.

Ally Abramson

Copyright ©2014 All rights reserved. Posted: April 18, 2014.

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