Bad Words is rudely funny. It’s rated R and not for kids even though it is about the national spelling bee designed for middle school age kids. However, Guy Trilby (the irrepressible Jason Bateman) at age forty has figured out a loophole that allows him to participate in the spelling bee. He wins his regional and is onward to the national spelling bee much to the chagrin of the directors played by Allison Janney and Phillip Baker Hall. Kathryn Hahn is the reporter following Guy and trying to figure out his motive. What’s his mission?
Trilby hurls insults at kids and parents alike. He appears to be a miserable soul with an axe to grind. But this makes for a hilarious movie with plenty of cringe worthy scenes and laugh out loud moments. And he’s winning. Guy’s biggest competition comes from the ten year old played by Rohan Chand. This kid with his liquid brown eyes, slight cowlick, joyous smile, and infectious chatter seeks out Guy as his best new friend. Guy in turn can’t help but fall for the kid. He treats him to dinner, wrongly gives him some whiskey, and takes him for a wild spin in his car. Both are perhaps pulling a con over the other one, but it’s zany to watch.
Over three days, the clock ticks, the syllables are sounded out, and competitors are dinged by the failure bell. But not Guy or Rohan. What the (bleep) is going to happen? Bad Words is not for delicate ears, but it truly works as a ninety minute comedy. Jason Bateman is spot on, and Rohan Chand steals the show. You’ll come out of the theater or finish streaming - spelling, smiling and shaking your head.