Title: Bad Words
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Jason Bateman
Starring: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand
Runtime: 1 hr 28 mins
What It Is: Guy Trilby is 40 years old. So why in the (expletive) is he entering the Columbus, Ohio regional spelling bee? Simple. So he can win it and go to national. Now why the (expletive) would he wanna win nationals? Well that’s the part we’re trying to figure out. With his sponser slash whatever she is to him privately Jenny Widgeon along for the ride we watch as Guy spells and schemes his way into national and drives the head of the spelling bee Dr. Deagan (Allison Janney) insane. All the while he is bothered (often so) by fellow contestant and certified loner Chaitanya Chopra. Chai and Guy (that’s got a nice rhythm to it.) begin an unlikely partnership. One that leads to some ridiculousness occurring everywhere.
What We Think: For first time director Bateman this was a good way to start. It wasn’t a film that needed a technical touch. What it required was someone whose funny. And Bateman certainly is that. There’s some great laughs here particularly between Chand and Bateman. However Hahn’s Widgeon isn’t fully fleshed out and occasionally the plot tends to drift from too much, too many times. It’s overindulgence in plot isn’t something fit for comedy fodder, and the emotional parts too often seem contrived. However the laughs are there and in a pre-summer comedy that’s as much as you can ask of it.
Our Grade: C, While it misses in some degrees, and alot of the best jokes are in the trailer the film at least has laughs. Which is more then I can say for the upcoming slate of pre-summer comedies (I’m lookin at you Haunted House 2). Bateman being a freshman behind the lens isn’t even discernible. If you want an hour and a half of laughs without having to look too much into the film this will do just that. But if you want a character study of an unlikable guy you’ll get attempts at that, but that’s mostly just time filler between the next set piece.