Bad Words

Published August 14, 2017

Bad Words

Film info

  • Title Bad Words
  • Director Jason Bateman
  • Year 2014
  • Run time 1hr 29m
  • Genres
  • Tagline The end justifies the means

Jason Bateman makes his feature directorial debut with the subversive comedy, Bad Words. Bateman stars as Guy Trilby, a 40-year-old who finds a loophole in the rules of The Golden Quill national spelling bee and decides to cause trouble by hijacking the competition. Contest officials, outraged parents, and overly ambitious 8th graders are no match for Guy, as he ruthlessly crushes their dreams of victory and fame. As a reporter (Kathryn Hahn) attempts to discover his true motivation, Guy finds himself forging an unlikely alliance with a competitor: awkward 10-year-old Chaitanya (Rohan Chand), who is completely unfazed by Guy’s take-no-prisoners approach to life.

Title: Bad Words Director: Jason Bateman Year: 2014 Run time: 1hr 29m

Live blog

1:01 - Spelling bees do amaze me, words I’ve never even heard of. 1:49 - Proofreading product warranties. Oof. That’s an actual job? 5:19 - “Plus, and this is a selfish point for me, it’s one heck of a story.” 6:37 - I didn’t know they were allowed to ask so many questions. 9:58 - I like having the confidence to just say ‘no’ to people’s attempts at conversation. 14:35 - “I’ll bet they’re not awesome.” 21:16 - Wow, an iPod with a click wheel. 23:08 - He’s named his folder! 27:28 - Is the spelling bee really televised? It seems so dull to actually watch. 32:09 - His version is better, it’s like speed sporting. 36:56 - “To me, it’s about fun.” 43:58 - “Borrowed” a lobster. 52:25 - That’s properly awful, poor girl! 53:16 - “Good gracious, that word is longer than most sentences.” 1:03:57 - He’s a smart little kid. 1:09:56 - There’s a word for saying abso-bloody-lately? 1:15:58 - “Ding it.”


This was a real surprise. I’ve had it on a ‘to watch’ list for absolutely ages, and decided to finally get round to watching it. I thought, given that it’s Mr Bateman, that it was going to be more of an all-out comedy, but it was more subtle than that. I saw a review saying he was like Bill Murray, with that grumpy acerbic dialogue that makes you laugh despite generally having all the hallmarks of an evil person. That’s exactly what this was and Jason did an incredible job with it.

I also found it intriguing because it all got off to a slow start but the unusual premise had you intrigued so that you have to keep watching. Then they introduce the adorable kid, who was really very good, and you have to see how it all pans out. The big reveal perhaps wasn’t as earth-shattering as it was built up to be, but by then, it didn’t really matter. Really, very good.

Rating: 4/5.

Rating: 4 / 5

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