Thursday, December 04, 2014

Movie Review - Bad Words

Bad Words (2014)
Starring Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Ben Falcone, Philip Baker Hall, and Allison Janney
Directed by Jason Bateman

When fortysomething Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) walks into a local school spelling bee, enters the contest through a loophole in the organization's rules, and wins thereby sending him to the finals in Washington, D.C., his actions cause a little bit of an uproar and don't sit well with the chairwoman of the competition Dr. Bernice Deagan (Allison Janney).  While in the nation's capital, Guy takes the young Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand) under his wing, showing the young aspiring spelling bee champion the seedy underbelly of some people's adulthood -- think alcohol, prostitutes, and fast cars. While Guy thinks that his corruption of Chaitanya will help him succeed in the competition, young Chaitanya ends up finding Guy's friendship endearing.

Jason Bateman's directorial debut Bad Words is an amusing flick, though its characters are certainly less than likable.  In and of itself, that's not a bad thing, but the film chickens out a bit at the end by attempting to give Guy a bit of a heart which unfortunately stands in stark contrast to his demeanor in the film's first two acts.

Bateman (as a director and as an actor) is at his best in his scenes with the young Rohan Chand (who certainly brings the necessary amount of charm to counter Bateman's character's snark) and these moments definitely elevate the film beyond the average.  Unfortunately, this sense of comedic timing and witty repartee doesn't manifest itself in scenes with any other characters.  Therefore, the film falls a bit flat when focusing on Guy's backstory (why he took on and spited the national spelling bee) and his relationship with a roving reporter (played by Kathryn Hahn whom I usually like, but found her character here to bring the film to a halt through no fault of her own).  Bad Words works at times, but isn't as fully realized as it could be.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

No comments:

Post a Comment