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Bad Words

Bad Words

Cast: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Allison Janney


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Forty-year-old Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman, starring in his feature directorial debut) discovers a loophole in the National Spelling Bee rules that allows him to compete against the pre-teen participants, and he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a 10-year-old misfit named Chaitanya (Rohan Chand) as he


Forty-year-old Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman, starring in his feature directorial debut) discovers a loophole in the National Spelling Bee rules that allows him to compete against the pre-teen participants, and he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a 10-year-old misfit named Chaitanya (Rohan Chand) as he becomes the subject of a news story by probing reporter Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn).

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Forty-year-old Guy Trilby is a monster on a mission. The sooner you accept this, the more likely it is that you'll enjoy Bad Words, an uncompromising comedy about an acerbic man who's determined to win the prestigious Golden Quill spelling bee. Like most monsters, Trilby's motives are initially unclear, which inevitably leads to his being misunderstood. Unlike many monsters, however -- and this is the factor that may prevent some from truly connecting with Bad Words, even as they're laughing in spite of themselves -- the people who incur the brunt of his foulmouthed wrath are children. In the course of exploiting an arcane loophole to compete in the bee, Trilby will insult, embarrass, and humiliate anyone who dares get in his way -- and most of the time, those unfortunate victims have yet to hit puberty. The first time we meet Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman, making his feature directorial debut here), he is preparing to participate in the regional spelling bee that will secure his entry into the Golden Quill competition. With a little assistance from his sponsor, an online journalist named Jenny (Kathryn Hahn), he eventually blusters his way onto the stage. Trilby is next seen sprinting from the building, trophy in hand, as an army of enraged parents are in hot pursuit. Clearly he has won the battle, but will he win the war by taking the top spot? Not if current Golden Quill director Dr. Bernice Deagan (Allison Janney) and president Dr. Bowman (Phillip Baker Hall) have any say in the matter. Meanwhile, as the competition gets under way, the arrogant, abrasive Trilby reluctantly begins to forge an unlikely bond with Chaitanya (Rohan Chand), a young Indian-American boy who's quickly emerging as a top contender, no thanks to his neglectful father. Later, the sleuthing Jenny conducts a clandestine background check on Trilby that reveals his true motivations, but threatens to push their increasingly strained relationship to the breaking point. In the opening scenes of Bad Words, Trilby openly admits to making impulsive, irrational decisions based on anger. Given the vitriol that he frequently hurls at women and children, there's never any doubt as to how deep his fury runs, only at whom it's primarily directed. That early confession is a rarity since we learn precious little about Trilby from his own mouth. However repellant he may be on the surface, that mystery makes him fascinating. Of course, whether or not you'll want to spend your quality time with a character who has no qualms about getting a ten-year-old boy liquored up or sending a preadolescent girl running from the stage in tears may depend largely on your ability to put your morals in a box for 89 minutes, but for those with a big enough box and a strong enough lock, Bad Words offers a wealth of deeply offensive, devil-may-care belly laughs that leave a refreshing sting -- the kind that reminds you that not all films are made by a committee or test-marketed to death before they reach the viewer. Working from a fearless screenplay by freshman scribe Andrew Dodge, Bateman makes a commendable directorial debut that reveals just how much he learned during his three decades in television. Though his direction can sometimes feel a bit pedestrian, in the sense that Bad Words occasionally looks more like a television pilot than a richly cinematic feature, he manages to keep the story moving and the laughs flowing. He handles reaction shots in particular with frame-by-frame precision (hardly a surprise given his background as a straight man), and that's only a small component of his perfect understanding of the rhythms of comic timing. Likewise, his playful interpretation of Dodge's farcical characters prevents Bad Words from ever feeling like it's trying too hard. It can be argued that some of the characters (including our antihero and his young pal, the latter played by a rising talent we'll surely be seeing more of) are broadly drawn, but Bad Words is first and foremost a comedy -- not a biting satire of the spelling-bee industry or a deep meditation on the importance of father figures (though those particular themes are present and accounted for). Even when the plot gives way to some guarded sentiment, the film never loses its unrepentant mean streak. Considering Trilby's opening remarks, those who emerge from Bad Words foaming with outrage can't say they were never warned, only that they allowed their morbid curiosity to get the best of them.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Focus Features
Region Code:

Special Features

Deleted and extended scenes; The minds and mouths behind Bad Words; Feature commentary with director Jason Bateman

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jason Bateman Guy Trilby
Kathryn Hahn Jenny Widgeon
Rohan Chand Chaitanya
Allison Janney Dr. Bernice Deagan
Ben Falcone Pete Fowler
Rachael Harris Eric Tai's Mother
Philip Baker Hall Dr. Bowman
Judith Hoag Petal Dubois
Beth Grant Bedazzled Judge
Steve Witting Proctor at Spelling Bee
Gwen Parden Brace-Faced Girl
Anjul Nigam Siriam Chopra
Allan Miller Bald Glasses Judge
Bob Stephenson Bill Murhoff
Patricia Belcher Ingrid
Matthew Zhang Braden Aftergood
Madison Hu Ling Quan
Michael Patrick McGill Beet Red Father
Mychael Bates Lobster Man
Greg Cromer Jeremy "FBI Agent"
Kimleigh Smith Marzipan
Ethan Dizon Ricky Irvine
Emily Sarah Carlson Joyce Sacks
Jacquie Barnbrook Joyce Sacks' Mom
Mak Krikscuin Mickey Carlson
Sofia Nam Jayleen Song
Lucky Davis Leonard Feldman
Terry Shusta Cop #1
Connor Kalopsis Eric Tai
Amanda Anka National Public Television Narrator
Tanner Goad Kid #1 on Bike
William M. Maltz Chip
Gregory Sutton Irate Driver

Technical Credits
Jason Bateman Director,Producer
Nicole Abellera Casting
Steve Cantamessa Sound Mixer
Jeff Culotta Producer
Darren M. Demetre Executive Producer
Andrew Dodge Screenwriter
Shepherd Frankel Production Designer
Jim Garavente Executive Producer
Adrian H. Gorton Set Decoration/Design
Edward H. Hamm Executive Producer
Rolfe Kent Score Composer
Calla Klessig Art Director
Michelle Knudsen Co-producer
Gary Marcus Asst. Director,Co-producer
Jeanne McCarthy Casting
Sean McKittrick Producer
Christopher Mollere Musical Direction/Supervision
April Napier Costumes/Costume Designer
Mason Novick Producer
Tatiana S. Riegel Editor
Ken Seng Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Bad Words
1. Chapter 1 [5:47]
2. Chapter 2 [5:28]
3. Chapter 3 [3:03]
4. Chapter 4 [5:11]
5. Chapter 5 [4:29]
6. Chapter 6 [3:10]
7. Chapter 7 [4:53]
8. Chapter 8 [4:01]
9. Chapter 9 [4:02]
10. Chapter 10 [5:38]
11. Chapter 11 [2:49]
12. Chapter 12 [6:31]
13. Chapter 13 [5:24]
14. Chapter 14 [1:27]
15. Chapter 15 [3:39]
16. Chapter 16 [2:39]
17. Chapter 17 [3:54]
18. Chapter 18 [4:44]
19. Chapter 19 [4:12]
20. Chapter 20 [4:39]
21. Chapter 21 [3:09]


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