Jason Bateman has had a weird Hollywood employment thus far. Not many people know that he began his career playing baby James Cooper Ingalls on the Little House on the Prairie television show. He then moved on to play several other roles in various films and television shows. His career slowly began to peter out up until 2003 hit and he landed the lead role as Michael Bluth on the much-loved Arrested Development. From that point on he skyrocketed back into the limelight with numerous leading roles in a large number of very successful films. Branching off from acting, Bateman decided to make his film directorial debut with the new film entitled Bad Words, which he also stars in.
Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) is a foul-mouthed, crude, forty-something professional Warranty Proofreader. Since he was a former spelling bee loser and due to the fact that he found a loophole in their rulebook, he decides that he wants to compete with Eighth graders and below in the national children’s spelling bee competition. Parents are outraged due to his age and want him kicked out of the contest because he keeps beating out all of their kids. Kathryn Hahn plays Jenny Widgeon who is a wacky reporter that is following Guy around in an attempt to scoop the peculiar story that he is entangled in. While at one of the final competitions, a young middle-eastern boy named Chairanya Chopra (Rohan Chand) befriends him and Guy must decide how important winning the spelling bee truly is.
Jason Bateman is at the top of his game both in front and behind the camera. Not only is he able to portray such a despicable and unlikable character so convincingly, but he is able to do it in such a way where you don’t actually hate him throughout the film. It’s even bizarre to the point where you begin to root for him to do more despicable things instead of feeling bad for the people that he’s doing them to. In addition, Kathryn Hahn is brilliant as always and is able to knock out more laughs due to her perfect comic sensibilities and her skill in making minute personality quirks into hilarious tropes. Pushing those actors aside though, Rohan Chand not only steals every single scene that he is in due to his wonderful charm, but he will leave you laughing till you are red in the face as a result of his perfect comic timing. I find that most child actors give off a sense of pure buffoonery when inserted into an adult comedy such as this; Chand however is able to walk the path of the “straight man” while interweaving a phenomenal comedic chemistry with that of Bateman’s character. To put it plainly, the pairing of Chand and Bateman just works, and it results in numerous smiles and laughs throughout the film.
Comedy is what this film’s strong suit is, but not necessarily its story. Although it’s definitely clever and something I hadn’t seen before, most of the twists and turns I saw coming from a mile away. One major twist I was able to predict as soon as they began to bate me in, however another one that comes at the end of the film caught me totally off guard. I’ll give Bateman credit for making a very memorable ending but some of the other story elements felt a bit ham-fisted while looking back on it. With the film’s problems notwithstanding, I will definitely say that I had a great time watching Bad Words and would unquestionably recommend it to those who are a fan of smart comedies that are dripping in potty humor.
FINAL TAKE: 9/11
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About the Movie
Synopsis: A man who lost the spelling be as a child attempts to win as an adult due to a loophole in the rules.
Director: Jason Bateman
Cast: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Allison Janney
Run time: 88 min
Just call me “Turbo” because it sums me up in a single word. I’m originally from Visalia, California but currently reside in Mesa, Arizona. I’m a movie and video game fanatic with a BA in Film and Media Production from ASU. I try to see every movie that I can (new and old) as well as play the latest video game releases. My goal in life would be to create a feature length film which viewers absolutely love. However, until then I love to entertain people with my 100+ voice impersonations as well as fill them in with the latest movie/ gaming news on Twitter. Facebook.com/turbizl, Twitter: @turbizl