SYNOPSIS: Jason Bateman (Identity Thief) makes his feature directorial debut with the subversive comedy Bad Words. Mr. Bateman stars as Guy Trilby, a 40-year-old who finds a loophole in the rules of The Golden Quill national spelling bee and decides to cause trouble by hijacking the competition. Contest officials, outraged parents, and overly ambitious 8th graders are no match for Guy, as he ruthlessly crushes their dreams of victory and fame. As a reporter (Kathryn Hahn of Weíre the Millers) attempts to discover his true motivation, Guy finds himself forging an unlikely alliance with a competitor: awkward 10-year-old Chaitanya (Rohan Chand of Homeland), who is completely unfazed by Guyís take-no-prisoners approach to life.
REVIEW: Bad Words shows the directorial debut of Jason Bateman (Identity Thief, 2013), who also stars as the main character Guy Trilby, a mental case that plans on using his photographic memory to destroy the dreams of children everywhere, like a less fashionable Grinch (2000) and much like Bad Santa (2003) on a trajectory of pure retribution and revenge. Iím sure one can guess that (no spoilers here) this flick is filled with tons and tons of bad words because Batemanís character isnít a nice guy at all. Simply put,
he's a racist, homophobic, intolerant anti-hero. Thankfully though, women and obesity
aren't so much in his crosshairs, in this latest outing.
Working with a script from rookie screenwriter Andrew Dodge, Bateman is able to deliver a steady stream of laugh-out-loud kickers with co-stars Allison Janney (Mr. Peabody & Sherman, 2014) and Kathryn Hahn (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, 2013). They literally spare no one and no one escapes unscathed here, though .Janney and Hahn lend the entire movie a certain gracefulness that only comes from a genuine soft touch for comedy.
They're the round pegs on Batemanís board game full of square holes. Everything has to be hammered into place; there are no easy landings found anywhere in this flick. In other words, Bad Words is a steady stream of wobbling from one awkward situation to another. It especially becomes uncomfortable when Batemanís character unleashes his colorful language on six graders in order to intimidate the youngsters, as a winning strategy.
Most notably though, is Batemanís pint-size co-star Rohan Chand (Lone Survivor, 2013), a precocious ten year old opponent named Chaitanya Chopra. He literally steals the show in every scene. His ability to carry his role is a strong likeness to a young Drew Barrymore in 1982ís ET: Extra-Terrestrial. I certainly believe audiences will fall in love with him scene after scene. He is definitely one to watch on the Hollywood circuit.
Nevertheless, your enjoyment of Bad Words depends on how much one would enjoy watching Jason Bateman being pissed off at the world for ninety-nine minutes and teaching a little kid bad words and questionable subject matters. Besides, this latest Bateman release
doesn't necessarily do anything you haven't seen before; however, itís certainly a good lazy Sunday afternoon comedy to kick back to. I do however think that this flick serves to indicate that Bateman will direct some stronger films in the future. Still, if you like Bateman and these types of comedies itís worth a look; not necessarily in theaters, but more for DVD rental or Pay-per-View. Three stars out of five is generous rating on this one.
By Movi-Man Stan
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