I wasn’t expecting much from BAD WORDS other than to be entertained for an hour and a half, but found myself enjoying this film more than anticipated.
Guy Trilby (Jason Batemen) has an ax to grind, but the mystery is kept close to his chest, as is any sense of shame or decency. In his 40’s, he decides to take part in a spelling bee competition having found a loophole, which allows him to compete alongside the bewildered children much to the annoyance of the competition staff and their outraged parents.
Followed by Jenny (Kathryn Hahn), an ambitious journalist who documents the entire affair, Guy hijacks the Spelling Bee moving up in the ranks with his eyes on the grand prize. Along the way, he meets the awkward, 10-year old Chaitanya (Rohan Chand), who latches onto him as a friend even though Guy initially wants nothing to do with him.
BAD WORDS isn’t going to be for everyone. As the title suggests there is an abundance of profanity and generally “not nice” things said that are racist, misogynistic, or just plain offensive. But if you like that, you will be howling with laughter as I was for most of the film.
Directed by Bateman (in his feature film directorial debut), the movie isn’t much to look at, but it’s serviceable and doesn’t overstay its welcome. The real stand-out is the script by Andrew Dodge. He takes great pleasure in subverting a number of clichés and throws in a surprise twist here and there. Unfortunately the resolution is a little mishandled as it becomes obvious at a certain point what’s really going on but it takes a while for the film to catch up to that revelation.
Not a movie to rush out and see, BAD WORDS is still worth checking out when it comes to video and VOD, but even seeing it in the theater, I got my money’s worth.