Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 36
  2. Negative: 9 out of 36
  1. Reviewed by: Christy Lemire
    Mar 14, 2014
    A little bit of nuance, which might seem out of place in such raunchy environs, actually goes a long way.
  2. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Mar 13, 2014
    It's tough to summon sufficiently negative language to describe the unfunny, desperate mess that is Bad Words.
  3. Reviewed by: Chris Cabin
    Mar 8, 2014
    The meager comeuppance and hasty notes of sweetness that end the film feel pre-approved rather than organically realized.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Mar 13, 2014
    For precursors of Guy's perversity, one would have to go back to W.C. Fields, who made antic art out of his characters' abhorrence of children.
  5. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Mar 11, 2014
    Bateman, as both director and star, digs his heels in too hard to make the movie's points, using lots of ho-hum close-ups and wriggly camera work along the way.
  6. Reviewed by: Robert Everett Green
    Mar 27, 2014
    The laughs in this film are all mean-spirited or just frat-boy gross.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Mar 20, 2014
    Misogynistic, homophobic, scatological — none of these words come up in any of the spelling bees that take place in Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, but they apply to the film.
  8. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Mar 13, 2014
    A young Jack Nicholson might have pulled this off, but Jason Bateman is not Jack Nicholson. Pity the actor who thinks he’s edgier than he actually is.
  9. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Sep 14, 2013
    Bad Words wants so desperately to be funny that there isn't much time left to make any logic out of the story.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 87 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 25
  2. Negative: 4 out of 25
  1. Mar 16, 2014
    Bad words is a really fun little movie, one that I laughed very hard in. Bateman is absolutely hilarious with his deadpan insults, and I enjoyed his interaction with a little Indian kid. As always Kathryn Hahn is awesome, but I wish her character and her motivation were flushed out a bit more. Her sex scene is by far the best in the movie. For an uproarious movie of this kind, it seemed that the basic plot underpinnings, the reason he went through with this spelling bee, is just a little bit strained and depressing and I think the writers probably could've been a better job in providing him with motivation. Full Review »
  2. Aug 12, 2014
    Bad Words goes for outrageous comedy with some real dramatic moments, and it works. It is short and effective. While Bateman did fine with his directorial debut, the movie's strength is in the screenplay. Full Review »
  3. Jul 9, 2014
    While struggling to make an all round great movie, Bad Words has some extremely funny moments. The film does have a standard type ending, though Bateman is at his best. B+ Full Review »