Jason Bateman stars as Guy Trilby – a 40-year old dude with a chip on his shoulder. Due to a loophole, the adult has entered a prestigious Spelling Bee for kids, and he is not holding back on the mind games and intimidation. Those pre-pubescent wordsmiths don’t have a clue what they are in for.
Of course, what is a grown man doing entering a spelling bee for kids and will they be able to stop him?
If the kids can’t, will the parents or common sense stop him?
Bad Words is fun because it is great to see Bateman being naughty. Working overtime as the movie’s director and the star, Bateman brings a hilarious mean attitude to the character without holding back an ounce as Guy curses at the kids, plays tricks to throw them off their game and outright acts as Bad Santa as he can without getting sued for copyright infringement. Yes, we have seen this before, but Bateman is so funny, we don’t mind the repetition.
Then, writer Andrew Dodge delivers a good script fleshing out the proceedings with a few subplots to keep you interested in between the expletive explosions, such as the buddy relationship Guy forms with a lonely kid, Chaitanya (Rohan Chand), competing in the bee and almost immune to all of Guy’s tricks, the blogger, Jenny (Kathryn Hahn), who thinks this story will help propel her to more prominence, and the various politicking going on behind the scenes of the spelling bee.
Bad Words loses something towards the end as the great premise needs to be wrapped up, so we learn why Guy is obsessed with this contest, which is kind of unoriginal and predictable, but we have so much dirty fun along the way, you can forgive it.
Bad Words is rated R for crude and sexual content, language and brief nudity