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Bad Words

7/10
Comedy . Drama
 

A misanthropic man sets out to exact revenge on his estranged father, by finding a loophole and attempting to win the National Spelling Bee as an adult. Figuring it would destroy his father, and everything he's worked so hard for as head of the Spelling Bee Championship Organization, Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) eventually discovers winning isn't necessary for revenge, and that friendship is a blessing not a curse.

 
Actors: Jason Bateman , Kathryn Hahn , Allison Janney , Philip Baker Hall , Rohan Chand , Ben Falcone , Patricia Belcher , Beth Grant , Rachel Harris , Steve Witting
Directors: Jason Bateman
Country: USA
Release: 2014-03-28
More Info:
  • Owen Gleiberman

    Bateman deserves props for sustaining Bad Words as a little balancing act between sulfurously funny hatred and humanity.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Bad Words is the kind of pitch-black dark comedy that makes you wince even as you give up on stifling the chuckles.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Bad Words, starring Jason Bateman in a tour de force of comic wickedness, takes sinful pleasure in rubbing our noses in the toxic joys of revenge.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Drew McWeeny

    [Bateman] proves himself just as comfortable behind the camera as he in in front of it, and "Bad Words" is very, very good as a result.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Bad Words does to spelling bees what “Bad Santa” did to Santa Claus.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Betsy Sharkey

    Sarcastic, sanctimonious, salacious, sly, slight and surprisingly sweet, the black comedy of Bad Words, starring and directed by Jason Bateman, is high-minded, foul-mouthed good nonsense.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • John DeFore

    Choosing it for his debut as director, Bateman demonstrates the same knack for timing and fine shadings of attitude as he does onscreen.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Justin Chang

    This exuberantly foul-mouthed and mean-spirited comedy goes somewhat soft in the final stretch but remains an often uproarious model of sharp scripting and spirited acting.

    Variety Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    Bad Words isn't an entirely auspicious beginning to Bateman's career behind the camera, but a riotous performance suggests what a wonderful louse he can be.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    Bad Words is often very funny, thanks to Bateman’s brick-wall malevolence and screenwriter Andrew Dodge’s inventively rude dialogue.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    Although the going is so sluggish at times that the film often looks like it needs artificial respiration, stick it out. The end result is oddly entertaining.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    The film is full of sharp observations about academic contests today, with Tiger Moms and tough-love Dads browbeating the kids from the wings. The ending is kind of a tap-out, but Bateman keeps this clipping along, maintaining the mean streak and potty mouth that makes Bad Words the dirtiest and funniest comedy of the new year.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    Where this falls on your personal line between funny and abusive may vary. Either way, what makes the comedy work is that Bateman doesn't relent. Guy is, simply, a loathsome person.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    It would be something to see Mr. Bateman go authentically dark (perhaps not that dark), but it’s also enough just to watch him as he widens his eyes, furrows his brow and shows off his excellent timing.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    While Bad Words is a little too dopey to take seriously, this is compensated for with a handful of truly amusing sequences.

    Film.com Full Review
  • Marjorie Baumgarten

    Although Bad Words never quite achieves Bad Santa’s level of misanthropy, the movie is chock-full of racist, sexist, and generally antisocial barbs – not to mention a slew of bad words.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    Even when Bad Words is bad in the wrong way, it tends to be bad in the right way, too.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    It's less of a showcase for Bateman's ability to direct comedic storytelling than simply to make people laugh, which makes Bad Words a sufficiently vulgar playground.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Stephanie Merry

    Although his character might be a one-trick pony, Bateman’s directing proves he’s got skills to spare.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    There's no debating that Bad Words contains some big, politically incorrect laughs. The movie isn't awash in them but there are enough to keep the chuckles coming. The film's problem is that, despite obvious aspirations to be more than just a profane joke factory, it never fulfills its dramatic ambitions.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    The film itself is uneven, but it’s kind of awesome seeing Bateman act so vile.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Elizabeth Weitzman

    For his directorial debut, Bateman returns to his bad-boy beginnings. And the results are predictably amusing.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    Bad Words soars in the bits of riotously offensive chitchat between Guy and a young Indian hopeful (Rohan Chand); it wobbles in plot developments involving the effortlessly starchy Allison Janney as the contest’s “queen bee”; and it splats in the I’m-secretly-hurting conclusion.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    In a movie that strives to offend with every spat profanity and cruel insult, the most shocking thing about Bad Words is that it expects us to care about its main character at all.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Nearly everything good about Bad Words plays off the yin-and-yang dynamic between Guy and Chaitanya—one an endless wellspring of belligerence, the other grinning, excitable, and impossible to rattle.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Mike Scott

    The problems here are more with the story, which, even at just 89 minutes, feels a touch repetitive at times.

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    Bad Words seems to be heading into the creepy realm of a sociopath’s case study, yet it’s presented as a breezy satire about a rebel against the system. It must be the Dictionary-Industrious Complex.

    Time Full Review
  • Christy Lemire

    A little bit of nuance, which might seem out of place in such raunchy environs, actually goes a long way.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    It's tough to summon sufficiently negative language to describe the unfunny, desperate mess that is Bad Words.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Chris Cabin

    The meager comeuppance and hasty notes of sweetness that end the film feel pre-approved rather than organically realized.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    For precursors of Guy's perversity, one would have to go back to W.C. Fields, who made antic art out of his characters' abhorrence of children.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Bateman, as both director and star, digs his heels in too hard to make the movie's points, using lots of ho-hum close-ups and wriggly camera work along the way.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Robert Everett Green

    The laughs in this film are all mean-spirited or just frat-boy gross.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Peter Keough

    Misogynistic, homophobic, scatological — none of these words come up in any of the spelling bees that take place in Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, but they apply to the film.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Kyle Smith

    A young Jack Nicholson might have pulled this off, but Jason Bateman is not Jack Nicholson. Pity the actor who thinks he’s edgier than he actually is.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Kevin Jagernauth

    Bad Words wants so desperately to be funny that there isn't much time left to make any logic out of the story.

    The Playlist Full Review
Add Soundtrack
  • 1. Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21, 1. Adagio Molto; Allegro Con Brio Performer: Leonard Bernstein and The New York Philharmonic Stream Music Online

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  • competition

  • satire

  • spelling bee

  • estranged father

  • unlikely friendship

  • anger issues

  • spelling

  • two word title

  • directed by star

  • indian american

  • reporter

  • forty something

  • high school dropout

  • children

  • box office flop

  • title spoken by character

  • little boy

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