December 16th, 2014

BAD WORDS (2014) ****

Jason Bateman stars as a grown adult who uses a loophole to enter eighth grade spelling bees where he destroys the competition. Not content on merely winning, he revels in bullying, shaming, and threatening the kids while their parents look on in horror. Along the way, he befriends a little boy (Rohan Chand) and teaches him there’s more to life than just spelling.

Bad Words is hilarious, foul-mouthed, and politically incorrect. I can’t tell you how good it feels to see a comedy that rolls up its sleeve and isn’t afraid to get down and dirty. Bateman (who also directed) is pretty amazing, and makes his character likeable, even when he’s doing and saying some outrageous things.

The scenes where he mercilessly hurls insults at little kids are great. Bateman’s particularly awesome when he starts playing mind games with the competition. There’s a jaw-dropping scene where he makes one girl think she got her period by pouring ketchup on her seat. Yeah, sure it’s despicable, but it’s also very funny.

A lot of the humor is just plain wrong, but there are more laughs and (unexpectedly) heart here than the past three comedies I’ve watched combined. The scenes of Bateman and Chand bonding and then going to war with one another are very funny and are reminiscent of Rushmore. Once we learn why Bateman has made ruining spelling bees his life’s work, we can’t help but side with him, or at the very least, understand why he’s doing what he’s doing.

Not only is Bad Words the funniest movie I’ve seen in a long time, it’s also one of the best films of the year.