Movie Review: Bad Words

Bad Words movie review

Bad Words should appeal to those who like raunchy comedies, like The Hangover, although it's much tamer than that franchise overall. I enjoyed it a lot because I'm a spelling/grammar geek, and the story centered around a 40-year-old man (Jason Bateman) who participates in a spelling bee for children, as he finds a loophole that allows him to enter the competition. However, this film is definitely not for those who easily take offense, especially to language. (hence the movie's title)

At the beginning of the film, we meet Guy Trilby (Bateman), entering the first round of a spelling bee competition. He and his sponsor, Jenny (Kathryn Hahn), end up having to run from angry parents at the end of the bee when he takes first price, thus clinching a spot in the national bee (the "Golden Quill") in California. The bee is for children but he's found a loophole that allows him to enter it: you cannot have graduated the 8th grade after February 2011, and he never graduated past the 8th grade. Jenny writes for an online newspaper which is sponsoring him in exchange for her writing a piece on him, but she's finding it hard to get answers out of Trilby, such as why he's doing this or what he hopes to achieve by it.

At the same time, Guy is slowly making friends with Chaitanya (Rohan Chand), whom he (racistly) calls "Slumdog" - an Indian boy who has taken a shine to him, since Chaitanya doesn't have many friends of his own. Guy ends up giving "Slumdog" an education that can't be found in books, and in return, Guy seems to make a friend out of "Slumdog," albeit one that's thirty years younger than him.

Yes, see this movie, as it's hilarious. It's Jason Bateman's film directorial debut, as well, and I hope to see more efforts from him soon. Bateman's character definitely has ulterior motives for entering the bee, but we don't find out what they are until later in the movie, and the film is highly entertaining throughout - it was a lot funnier than I thought it would be. Allison Janney also plays the director of the bee, whose head is on a platter by the parents because they want her to do something about Guy's situation. I'd recommend this movie for anyone that likes raunchy comedies, or has ever participated in a spelling bee, as the televised version of the bee they show in the film had many mishaps throughout.

Bad Words is in theaters today, March 28th, and is rated R with a runtime of 88 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.

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