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Saturday, September 30, 2023


Review: Comedy film, ‘Bad Words’

Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, “Bad Words,” is a funny but sometimes mean-spirited comedy that will remind viewers of Bateman’s previous acting work.

Guy Trilby (Bateman) is a 40-year-old man who finds a loophole in a spelling bee rulebook and competes against other school children. According to the rulebook, he must have a media sponsor and not have passed the eighth grade prior to the year 2001 to compete.

Along the journey to winning the cash prize of $50,000 and spelling crown, Trilby is criticized and ridiculed by other parents and the spelling bee officials. Luckily for Trilby, not only does he have the entire Webster’s Dictionary programmed into his brain, but he also has a quick tongue that spit fires insults left and right.

The presence of children does not make Trilby censor his invectives, which could be due to his hardened, angry surface and hidden determination to compete and win.

His media sponsor, a disheveled blog journalist (Kathryn Hahn) chronicling his spelling trek, is on the other end of his insults. Not even intimacy can crack Trilby’s hard shell, nor can it make him spill his guts.

Trilby’s exterior remains hardened throughout most of the movie until he meets his competitor, 10-year-old Chaitainya (Rohan Chand).

Chaitainya wants to be friends, and with much pushing, Trilby finally gives in. From adding cursing into his ever-growing vocabulary to performing bathroom pranks, Trilby corrupts Chaitainya when he takes him on a guys’ night out.

Fortunately for Chand’s character, he’s too naïve to even realize he’s being insulted.

“Bad Words” is hilarious; mean-spirited, but hilarious. However, Trilby’s insults toward the adults and children shows his own immaturity.

While some insults hit the comic mark, others may make you uncomfortable, only because they are insults that deal with racial or gender stereotypes.

For Bateman’s directorial debut, he didn’t do half bad. As a director also starring in his own movie, he knows his strengths, what works and what doesn’t. Much of the movie may remind you of Bateman’s previous comedies, such as “Horrible Bosses” and “Identity Thief.”

“Bad Words” will be in theaters on March 14.

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