“What are you doing, you dumb dick?!”
Man, what killer premise. Just thinking about an adult participating in a spelling is hilarious, but the trailer gave me a lot of hope as well. However, I was expecting, like most comedies, for this to fall apart in the third act and replace the humor for sentimentality. Thankfully, that’s not the case here. It does get a bit mushy at the end, but does so without sacrificing the raunchy humor. That’s what makes Bad Words stand out among other comedies.
I can’t think of a better actor to play the role of Guy than Jason Bateman. This may sound like a negative, but this is a similar Bateman that we saw with The Change-Up a few years back. He’s sick bastard that insults and harasses not only adults, but kids as well. And somehow, we still like the guy. Only Jason Bateman could pull that off and I can see why many actors turned down the role.
Rohan Chand, who plays the 10 year-old spelling bee contestant who befriends Guy, is undeniably adorable here. Not only that, but for as young as he is, Chand has great chemistry with Bateman, leading to a quite impressive leading duo. Later on in the film, the actions the two partake in are just hilarious (and don’t worry, the R-rated trailers don’t give away all of the jokes).
Now, onto the premise. They could have turned this into a crappy, PG-13 comedy with the broadest appeal possible, but thankfully Bateman and writer Andrew Dodge go all out with very dark jokes involving rape, divorce, and race. If you take offense to jokes involving any of those topics, I suggest you steer FAR away from this one. You’ll despise it. But, as someone who openly embraces films that don’t settle for the PC norm, this was perfect for me.
Granted, the plot progression of the film is pretty predictable, but with a film like this, you already know how it’s going to end. At least with this one, Bateman and his crew try to spice it up with a crazy finale that had many audience members, myself included, laughing uncontrollably. But for the most part, you’ve seen this movie before. But, the energy and one-liners thrown at you are unlike something I’ve seen from a comedy in a long time.
Many will compare this to the Bad Teacher and Bad Santa. However, Bad Words is much better than both of those films (and this is coming from someone who’s a fan of Bad Santa). The reason why I say that is because unlike most comedies that have many off-jokes that are forgiven because of the few that are actually funny, this one hits a home run with almost every single joke that it throws at the audience. That’s almost unheard of for a modern-day comedy.
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is this: give Jason Bateman more comedies to direct (and star in), give Rohan Chand more roles (because he’s fucking adorable), and give Andrew Dodge more opportunities to write scripts, preferably comedies, because he can sure think of creative premises and hilarious one-liners. This will become a comedy classic someday. Trust me.
“The spelling bee is for kids!”
5 out of 5