Bad WordsBad Words is a movie about a grown man who finds a loophole in a national spelling bee competition. Let’s just get that out of the way, first, because any man childish enough to dash the hopes of a slew of young children is obviously going to be some sort of a graceless jerk. In this case Jason Bateman plays the jerk, a man named Guy Trilby who has enough time on his hands to participate in a slew of spelling challenges leading him all the way to the big Bee.
He’s not alone in the challenge. Guy is accompanied by a reporter during his lengthy quest. Her name Jenny (Kathryn Hahn), and she’s the sort of unharried type of woman who gets to a good story even if the person she is interviewing is Sir Clam-up-a-Lot. Hahn and Bateman are both very convincing in their roles, and even when a ham-fisted romance of sorts is tied into the plot, this doesn’t affect their banter, the sort which is often as quick-witted as it is gleefully mean.
This sort of humor won’t work for everyone, especially those who are used to seeing Bateman play the nice guy in comedy. In Bad Words, a movie which is also Bateman’s directorial debut, the man chooses to go beyond stereotype and play the sort of despicable character who might not automatically resonate with audiences. Unfortunately, it’s when Guy does try to explain his horrible behavior that Bad Words loses all of its punch. The ending is less than satisfactory and borders on maudlin. However, if you want to see what Bateman can do with a new character and a camera, this small release from Universal Studios Home Entertainment is worth a watch. You can order Bad Words over at Amazon.
Best Special Feature: "The Minds And Mouths Behind Bad Words" is a pretty basic behind the scenes feature, but its lack of weird premise doesn't change the fact that it's funny and informative. A lot of it covers Batman talking about how much he identified with the sick and horrifying sense of humor his character has. Apparently, he offered the role to other people and dangled it out there, but in the end, he was the one who really identified with the character.
Other Bonus Features:
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Feature Commentary with Director Jason Bateman