Bad Words

March 10, 2014 0 By Fans
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A spelling bee loser sets out to exact revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win as an adult.

Release Year: 2013

Rating: 8.0/10 (434 voted)

Director: Jason Bateman


A spelling bee loser sets out to exact revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win as an adult.

The end justifies the mean.


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Rating: 9/10

It's very rare that I find myself lost in the narrative, characters and
the comedy that I forget altogether that I am watching a movie intent
on criticizing it. Jason Bateman's (Horrible Bosses, Up In the Air)
directorial debut Bad Words did just that–allow me to lose myself to
laugh so hard with such shocking moments that I almost forgot I had to
review the film.

Bad Words is a short, sweet and unexpectedly dark comedy with instances
of pure vulgarity and vileness that is at the same time,
heartwarming–yes, you read that right.

For one, Bad Words was the first ever straight-up comedy I have ever
experienced at TIFF. Of course, so many movies have heavy comedic
instances, but I can assure you, Bad Words will have you laughing so
hard, that at times, you'll find it hard to hear the next bit of
dialogue (I'm warning you from experience).

The film opens with unexplained genius Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman)
entering himself in a regional spelling bee, with a brief flashback
explaining how he has been able to register legally. From the moment
the movie starts, Bateman has the audience in tears and on the floor
laughing, winning the regional bee sending him off to the national bee,
in hot pursuit of all the angry parents and students who he beat at the
regionals. Once Bateman makes it to the super bowl of spelling bees,
The Golden Quill, along with his travelling documenting reporter
(Kathryn Hahn, We're The Millers), hilarity and vulgarity ensue.

The mystery behind Trilby's anger with the world, constant bitterness
and his obsession with winning the bee is at the centre of the film,
along with his inability to allow anyone get close enough for him to
care, drive the narrative. The blend of Bateman's dark direction and
stylistic choices, along with screenwriter Andrew Dodge's fiercely
morbid dialogue allow for the experience to be natural and so

I have no idea if either Bateman or Dodge were inspired at all with the
work of Bobcat Goldthwait (World's Greatest Dad, God Bless America) and
his darkly satirical body of work, but if I was told that was another
addition to that list of black comedy, I would not doubt it. The
envelope is constantly being pushed in Bad Words. Each character Trilby
interacts with, whether it be for an extended period of time, or just
shortly, Bateman nails each and every scene with a natural sense of
arrogance. Trilby's scenes with "slumdog" (Rohan Chand), a lonely
prostitute on the street, or a victimized man going to a washroom
stall, are some of the best in the film.

Bateman undoubtedly has a keen eye for comedy. Rude, crude and
sometimes completely uncalled for, Bad Words was a pleasant change of
pace during TIFF and surely one of the most memorable comedies of the

Expect Bad Words in a theatre near you. And the only thing bad about
it, is how much you will find yourself laughing at the most
inappropriate things, da*#it!

Night Film Reviews: 7.5/10 Stars