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Bad Words
Bad Words movie poster

Bad Words Movie Review

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An angry, 40-year old man uses a loophole to enter a national spelling bee contest, and the results are glorious. Bad Words, the directorial debut of Jason Bateman, is sometimes funny and always politically incorrect.

Bateman also stars in the black comedy, which has his character Guy Trilby traipsing around the country competing and winning spelling bees—designed for children—intent on advancing to the finals. Along the way, he befriends a young competitor, sabotages the lives of several others and pisses off a lot of parents.

Bad Words isn't the best movie you'll see this year, but it's a valiant first effort by Bateman. The movie, working from a script by first-time writer Andrew Dodge, is fast, punchy and crude. Bateman doesn't try to do too much; he holds back and lets the story, and his acting, do the work. Bateman lobs more than a few memorable zingers to the audience, and his chemistry with the young Rohan Chand adds an extra element.

At its simplest, Bad Words is entertaining and a lot of fun.

The movie only falters in its final few minutes where, after an hour and a half of build-up, Bateman refuses to throw the knockout punch you're waiting for. Bad Words fizzles at this moment; its anti-climax is not enough to kill the experience of the movie, but it keeps the film from being a must-see.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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