Jason Bateman is the b-b-b-bad Guy Trilby in “Bad Words”; crude, immature, highly inappropriate, and terribly hilarious. As a 40 year old who never completed the eighth grade, Trilby enrols in The Golden Quill National Spelling Bee to complete a personal vendetta. Accompanied and sponsored by Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn) from The Click and Scroll online journal, Trilby dons his sour attitude, quick tongue, and bad words to keep his personal motivation to himself while aiming for the trophy. Trilby quickly convinces all around him that he is truly bad to the core.
“Bad Words” is Bateman’s directoral debut, and I must say he didn’t do too bad considering he played the lead role as well. The acting in the film was quaint, a little stereotypical, but comedic nonetheless. Trilby is a likeable character despite his foul mouth. Bateman’s excellent depiction of Trilby’s character development demonstrates Bateman’s skill as an actor. “Bad Words” as whole demonstrates Bateman’s skill and potential as a director, especially in how the story is presented. Trilby’s playfulness as a self-requited comedian is matched in Bateman’s playfulness as a director in how he captures those moments.
The heart of “Bad Words” easily comes through the relationship between Guy Trilby and ten-year-old competitor, Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand). Trilby instantly dismisses Chaitanya’s eager and friendly attempts to make peace with the brute, but eventually finds going along with Chaitanya easier than telling him “no.” Trilby introduces Chaitanya to a night on the town, revealing the “perks” of adulthood through pranks and exposure to scenes not meant for children. Despite Trilby’s presentation as a cold, dis-impassioned man with a love of stealing joy from children, the connection between Trilby and Chaitanya is presented positively and warmly, and it is somewhat demonstrated in Trilby’s actions at the end of “Bad Words.”
Potty Mouth at its Finest
Given the movie is about “bad words,” naturally some of the most humorous scenes revolve around Trilby’s colourful language. Bateman’s ability to rhyme off words more than fifteen characters in length is astounding, and the ease in which smut, insults, and bad words fly out of his mouth is not just hilarious, but also quite impressive. The plot of “Bad Words” is driven forward by everyone’s desire to know why Trilby has his eye set on winning the children’s competition, and ultimately humiliating those involved and in charge. In the very beginning of “Bad Words” the viewer is introduced to “Present Day Trilby” who plays the role of retrospective narrator indicating that he acknowledges his actions “likely weren’t the best or most mature.”
The climax of “Bad Words” occurs at The Golden Quill finals and Trilby’s undisclosed motives are revealed. The only disappointment I felt towards the film was in the denouement and closing. While “Bad Words” is an impractical film, I felt the ending was just too unrealistic and “happy.” For the most part, the main characters get their happy ending. “Bad Words” concludes on a silly note that made me laugh more out of incredulity for how Bateman chose to end the film. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed “Bad Words.” Despite Trilby being a downright terrible person, you really can’t help but like him.
My Rating: 8/10