Bad Words – DVD Review 4/5 stars
Laughter can be incredibly therapeutic so I’m always in search of good, funny, movies. Bad Words was just the thing as star/director Jason Bateman delivered a dark comedy that came very, very close to crossing the line (though I suppose that depends on where your personal line is), but still retained it’s thoughtfulness.
Guy Trilby (Bateman) is a forty year old man who has found a loophole that has allowed him to enter the Golden Quill National Spelling Bee competition. His reasons for entering are a mystery; even to his journalist sponsor Jenny (Kathryn Hahn), but Guy promises he will reveal all once he wins the competition. When parents and the director of the Bee (Allison Janney) find they can’t kick Guy out of the competition, they decide to make his life miserable by putting him up in a broom closet for a hotel room and giving him incredibly ridiculous words to spell like Floccinaucinihilipilification (the action or habit of estimating something as worthless) and Antidisestablishmentarianism (opposition to the withdrawal of state support or recognition from an established church … see you can learn things on “theswitz.wordpress.com” too!). Guy gives back as good as he gets as he mentally traumatizes the children in the competition until he meets Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand), who he actually begins to connect with and almost befriends….then of course things go hilariously off the rails again as the finals of the competition loom.
Last year I had thought that all of Jason Bateman’s characters were becoming a little too much like his character from Arrested Development; the nice, responsible fatherly type who’s looking out for everyone; while there are hints of that kind character in Guy Trilby, his mean streak and vindictiveness certainly break Bateman out of that Michael Bluth mould. Bateman was also impressive as a first time director and has always had a knack for clever, verbal comedy. Young Chaitanya Chopra was pretty good himself as the earnest nine year old and Kathryn Hahn and Allison Janney are always funny and helped round out the cast nicely.
Sharply funny and full of foul language and some sexual content, I couldn’t get enough of Bad Words, nor could I stop laughing at times. It effectively tells the story with dirty jokes, then dips into heartwarming territory without being corny or fake, and holds your attention with a small, though somewhat predictable, mystery until the end. Highly enjoyable.
Bottom Line: Funny to see this is rated R in the US and only 14A in Ontario.