It has been a long time goal for Jason Bateman to direct a film and he has finally done it in the form of Bad Words. The comedy is similar to Bateman’s own scene of humour and features people he knows in all his years of acting since he was a child.
Bad Words tells the tale of Guy Trilby, a forty year old dropout who attends spelling bees in hopes of winning one as an adult. On his way to the Nationals, he meets a young boy Chaitainya Chopra (Rohan Chand) who is also participating in the Nationals. The two eventually develop a bond that results in an odd but amazing pairing. Guy however has threats in his way including a reporter eager to know his story behind taking the spelling bee (Kathryn Hahn), the competition’s director (Allison Janney) and one of its founders (Philip Baker Hall).
As far as acting goes for Jason Bateman, this is his darkest role since the Change Up and his best since Horrible Bosses. Other props go to Baker Hall for showing that he has still got it and Chand for his never say no character. Underneath the crude humour, there is a sad story behind Guy’s unorthodox behaviour which makes his foul mouthed character sympathetic. Swearing aside there is physical crude humour as well that is not for the squeamish yet this film is for those that enjoy that type of humour. In terms of directing, there are some pretty good shots in this film which is great to have for someone’s directing debut. The script provides enough laughter yet at the same time there also that element of emotional depth.
Bateman was hoping that this would be a success due to the added pressure of directing. Did he succeed? The layman’s effort to spelling that answer is Y E S yes
By Diarmuid Jude Crowley