Synopsis: A spelling bee loser sets out to exact revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win as an adult.
What can I say about Bad Words that isn’t already said in its title? Well, besides the crude humor that’s apparent in the trailer, the film actually contains many interesting characters and an ongoing mystery that keeps you captivated throughout the film.
Placing a crude man in an environment surrounded by innocence has been done before, but Bad Words manages to maintain the level of humor while also developing an intriguing story. Between the laughs, there are a number of inquisitive moments regarding Guy Trilby’s (Bateman) motives for competing in a children’s spelling bee. While those motives may be revealed to some as simplistic, the steady piecewise method of revelation are what maintains the interest throughout the film.
Along the path of discovering more about Guy Trilby, we are introduced to his unlikely counterpart Chaitanya (Rohan Chand). Chaitanya is a relentless but innocent young boy who is intrigued by Guy and continuously pursues his friendship. Their onscreen chemistry is strong and Chand’s character is equally as entertaining as Bateman’s. While Bateman gives a strong performance, Rohan Chand is absolutely flawless in his role. It was such a delightful surprise to see a small child like Chand have a breakthrough performance in an adult comedic role. His childlike innocence is abruptly corrupted by his curiosity of Trilby. That curiosity leads to troublesome behavior and moments of laughable exchanged vulgarities.
Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn) is a character standing on the sidelines in the midst of Guy and Chaitanya’s story. Her character has her own moments of outrageous humor but her character serves the purpose of filling the plot rather than developing her character. Hahn plays a reporter that is covering Guy’s story. Her role as a reporter helps lubricate the dialogue during which the main character’s mystery is uncovered. She also assists Guy in his quest through her connections and acts as spontaneous yet hilarious love interest.
Overall I would say this film is an achievement for Jason Bateman’s directorial debut. Is it a masterpiece, no, but it is sure to make you laugh on shock value alone. I found the plot to be surprisingly interesting being that the film was so focused on comedy. It was an added bonus and a rarity amongst many comedies such as this one. This may not be a film that you rush to see in theaters, but I would recommend that you do. If anything is worth the price of theater admission, I would say that a genuinely good laugh is worth both your money and your time.
Bad Words – 8 out of 10
A laugh out loud comedy with an intriguing plot…