Bad Words stars Jason Bateman as Guy Trilby, a bitter spelling bee loser who exploits a loophole in the rules to enter as an adult. It is also Bateman’s directorial debut. Guy Trilby has issues, and carries around the proof that he hasn’t passed eighth grade to show his legitimacy as a contender. This is rejected by the adult world, something that Guy appears quite used to, asking “are we past the rules and into the insults now?”
It is clear from the start that Guy is very much an anti-hero – hence the hordes of parents boo-ing him and chasing him from the regional spelling bee as he clutches the trophy. It follows that much of the humour in the film is dark and may not be to everyone’s taste, but there is plenty to enjoy.
Guy first meets Chaitanya, played by Rohan Chand, on the flight to the final, the Golden Quill. Chaitanya asks Guy lots of ‘word nerd’ questions, which Guy tries to get rid of. Guy proves no match for the other eighth graders, crushing their dreams of victory and fame one letter at a time.
As Guy arrives at the Golden Quill tournament, the adult world continues to exercise their disapproval through the accommodation that is arranged. Guy is undeterred, and begins to form a ‘frenemy’ bond with his key competitor, Chaitanya, while also trying to dodge a reporter who is trying to uncover his real reasons for winning the national spelling bee – a surprise that no one will see coming.
Conclusion: Funny spelt ‘dark humour’.
Overall rating: Not necessarily everyone's cup of tea, but definitely worth a watch.
Check it out on IMDB here!
[Image from IMDB]