Friday, March 21, 2014

Bad Words

Jason Bateman takes his trademark 'I'm the smartest guy in the room' smug attitude to a new level when he sets out to win a national spelling bee tournament intended for those who haven't yet graduated from eighth grade.  The thing is, despite being somewhat of a genius, he never actually graduated past the eighth grade, so technically, much to the dismay of parents, teachers, and the tournament staff, they have to allow him to compete. 

'Bad Words' could fairly be compared to 'Billy Madison', where Adam Sandler goes back to grade school to pass each grade in two weeks, yet it isn't nearly as silly, slapsticky, or funny for that matter.  It's more of a dry comedy, much like you expect from Bateman's wit.  But it certainly does deliver plenty of the bad words promised in the title.  Bateman is filled with bitterness, for reasons kept unknown, and spews profanity and racial epithets without hesitation and with total disregard to his audience.  He's a man focused on his mission, and the mystery of his rationale behind it was, for me, what elevates this from being a so-so dark comedy to an interesting movie.  The occasional laughs and the charming camaraderie between Bateman and a young Indian competitor are enough to make it a fun viewing, but any movie where I can't deduce the final reveal in the first five minutes is even more worth my time. 

Grade: B+

Who is this movie for?  Bateman fans and those that enjoy a good festival-type dramedy with a whole lot of bad words and racial slurs.  Pair it with 'About Last Night' for a double feature of comedies not to take grandma to.

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