Cinema Review: Bad Words | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019  

Bad Words

Studio: Focus Features
Directed by Jason Bateman

Mar 14, 2014 Web Exclusive
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40-year-old Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) is on a mission: to win the Golden Quill national spelling bee, a contest intended for middle school children rather than middle-aged men. As misguided as his goal may be, an online journalist (Kathryn Hahn) agrees to sponsor Trilby in exchange for an exclusive profile feature. As he closes in on the ultimate prize—and crushing the hopes of his prepubescent competitors—Trilby befriends 10-year-old Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand) and makes a point of giving the awkward, sheltered kid a taste of the adult world. As his hostile temperament melts and the bee’s bosses look for ways to have him eliminated, the reasons behind Trilby’s spelling bee sabotage are slowly revealed.

One of the best moves Jason Bateman made in his directorial debut was casting himself as its foul-mouthed, shit-stirring lead. He plays an abrasive, hard-to-love character, and any actor with less natural charisma than the affable Arrested Development star would have pushed Trilby into a totally unlikable territory. The rest of the casting is just as good, including the already-mentioned Hahn and Chand, Allison Janney and Philip Bake Hall as the bee’s conniving administrators, and Ben Falcone as the competition’s play-by-play commentator. With a plot as far-fetched as this, it takes skilled comedic actors to keep it from derailing. The characters may be slightly flat, but the strong cast pull them off and earn a few perverse laughs that others may not have been able to. All said, Bad Words is a worthwhile—if predictable—dark comedy, particularly for those with a somewhat cruel sense of humor.

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Author rating: 6/10

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jack
September 23rd 2014
8:56pm

decent review!