If Bad Words directed by Jason Bateman came out this year and no one had heard of him his career would probably be ruined. It is full of dark, vulgar, offensive humor and frankly, I found myself offended numerous times. Cancel Jason Bateman! Just kidding, he’s my hero.
Bateman’s character Guy Trilby is a 40-year-old savage that discovers a loophole allowing him to enter a local spelling bee for children. This loophole is particularly frustrating to parents, competitors and organizers because Bateman won’t reveal why he wants to destroy a bunch of kids in a spelling bee. Plus, this motherfucker can spell like it’s nobody’s business! The anti-hero we never knew we needed.
I had a tough experience with a spelling bee back when I was in 4th grade. Our class competed and the overall winner would be entered into a county wide competition. My rival Nicole was also my crush. She had brutally rejected my advances in 3rd grade and though it helped me realize my masochistic desires at a young age it also fueled a rage. I had to beat her. Tragically, I was conned by the word argumentative as I included an “e” after “argu” leading to my elimination. Nicole ended up winning after properly spelling Alligator. What a fucking joke. Alligator?! Bitch.
Among all of Bateman’s haters which he seems to enjoy there was one admirer – Chaitanya Chopra. Chaitanya is a 10-year-old competitor that is absolutely adorable. They initially meet on a flight to the spelling bee and Chaitanya tries to befriend Bateman which he viciously shuts down. The movie has many, absurd zingers such as:
Chaitainya Chopra: “I was wondering if you wanted to study together.”
Guy Trilby: “You don’t have any real friends. You’re kind of a loser. I bet you crush ass though. You make up for it with the women?”
Chaitainya Chopra: “No”
Guy Trilby: “No girlfriend for you? You can’t find one little chicken tikka to get your shrimp tandoori all up in?”
Mind you this interaction was shortly before Bateman paid off a stripper to show Chaitainya her breasts. In other words, do they become best friends?! YEP. No subtle Step Brothers reference is complete without some karate in the basement, but for importantly the mayhem of Kathryn Hahn. Hahn is a reporter in Bad Words fascinated by Bateman’s unclear mission and at one point, they have sex while she repeatedly screams, “Don’t look at me!” It’s exactly the way I always imagined they’d have sex on screen.
In the end, we finally learn the twisted reason why Bateman set out to dominate children in a spelling bee and no, he’s not a pedophile. Rather, he has a lifelong connection to a curator of the annual event whom he’s intent on humiliating. He also goes head to head with Chaitainya in a gritty yet heartfelt showdown that ends with Bateman getting kicked in the nuts. In other words, the feculence plunks the propeller. Go ahead and try solving that riddle Nicole. Asshole.
Anyway, if you’re looking for a quick, easy, funny movie night look no further than Bad Words, a hilarious, inappropriate, surprisingly heartfelt gem directed by Bateman himself.
Seth Borkowski is a New York-based writer who enjoys writing about dating, self-improvement, sports and the challenges of growing older as a millennial. You can read more of his work at sethborkowski.com.