User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 89 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 89
  2. Negative: 10 out of 89

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Mar 16, 2014
    7
    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 seemedBad 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. Expand
  2. Mar 31, 2014
    6
    Jason Bateman has always been good at dry delivery, so he's gone desert with this mean-spirited character (he also directed). He's an unhappy grownup who finds a loophole that allows him to enter middle-school spelling bee, which he wins. This serves as a vehicle for him to drive verbally vicious insults, going for laffs by being outrageous to kids. Luckily, one charmer (Rohan Chand)Jason Bateman has always been good at dry delivery, so he's gone desert with this mean-spirited character (he also directed). He's an unhappy grownup who finds a loophole that allows him to enter middle-school spelling bee, which he wins. This serves as a vehicle for him to drive verbally vicious insults, going for laffs by being outrageous to kids. Luckily, one charmer (Rohan Chand) manages to get thru. While there are some amusing moments, much of the effort is spent trolling for laffs by being shocking, which isn't as successful. Expand
  3. Apr 4, 2014
    4
    Even with the movie only being 89 minutes, it felt repetitive and unnecessary most of the time. There are moments that are funny but not enough to make up for the bland story and messy climax.
  4. Aug 12, 2014
    7
    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.
  5. Apr 5, 2014
    4
    Jason Bateman makes his directorial debut along with starring in and producing, “Bad Words”. He plays Guy Trilby, a 40 years old man, who never finished the 8th grade which makes him eligible to compete with 10 year olds in a spelling bee eventually winding up in the national finals.

    “Bad Words” is a comedy that makes fun of kids such as a 40 year old man giving a 10 year contestant the
    Jason Bateman makes his directorial debut along with starring in and producing, “Bad Words”. He plays Guy Trilby, a 40 years old man, who never finished the 8th grade which makes him eligible to compete with 10 year olds in a spelling bee eventually winding up in the national finals.

    “Bad Words” is a comedy that makes fun of kids such as a 40 year old man giving a 10 year contestant the finger or taking the kid Chaitanya, played by Rohan Chand, to a prostitute so she could show him her boobs. How about eliminating a contestant by making her think she is ‘becoming a woman‘ then and there where she has to get up in front of a crowd to spell a word? And then how could he not help pick on a fat kid before the boy’s turn in the spelling bee?

    Bateman gets a certain sympathy in any film because of his persona but here it is the screenplay by Andrew Dodge who gives the actor sharp lines that will make you laugh even when you know it is wrong. The interplay between Guy and the reporter, Jenny Widgeon, played by Kathryn Hahn, looking to find out what is behind the story, is also funny though at times in a cruel way.

    Dr. Deagan, played by Allison Janney, as the director of the spelling bee, has nothing but disdain for Guy and makes it quite clear by giving him a supply closet for his hotel room. The Golden Quill’s spelling bee founder, played by Philip Baker Hall, attempts to keep everything on an even keel turns comedy to drama on a dime.

    Anyone who has been going to the movies knows where the story is heading but Bateman handles the actors, and himself, with a lightness that makes what is said and shown on film almost funny. The relationship between Guy and Chaitanya is the meat of the story and if the kid can forgive the adult so can we.
    Expand
  6. Jun 24, 2014
    4
    Was surprised this was Bateman's first film he has directed. None the less the story line is pretty uninspired and predictable. Old man vs 10 year old in spelling bees......they develop a feidnship of sorts..........gee, what will happen. Was looking forward to over the top things by bateman's character but left disappointed. So whats the upside of this flick, the 10 year old. although heWas surprised this was Bateman's first film he has directed. None the less the story line is pretty uninspired and predictable. Old man vs 10 year old in spelling bees......they develop a feidnship of sorts..........gee, what will happen. Was looking forward to over the top things by bateman's character but left disappointed. So whats the upside of this flick, the 10 year old. although he doesn't act much he adds an element worth seeing......once. Expand
  7. Apr 6, 2014
    9
    Unfathomably well-trained direction and unceremoniously entertaining all throughout, Jason Bateman's directorial debut "Bad Words" is an ingenious, hilarious, and even occasionally heartwarming masterwork.
  8. Mar 28, 2014
    7
    It’s very rare that I find myself lost in narrative, characters, and comedy, that I forget altogether that I am watching a movie intent on criticizing it. Jason Bateman’s (Horrible Bosses, Up In the Air) directorial debut Bad Words did just that. It allowed me to lose myself in laughter and the evermore outrageous moments, so much so that I almost forgot I had to review the film.

    Bad
    It’s very rare that I find myself lost in narrative, characters, and comedy, that I forget altogether that I am watching a movie intent on criticizing it. Jason Bateman’s (Horrible Bosses, Up In the Air) directorial debut Bad Words did just that. It allowed me to lose myself in laughter and the evermore outrageous moments, so much so that I almost forgot I had to review the film.

    Bad Words is a short, sweet, and unexpectedly dark comedy with instances of pure vulgarity and vileness that is at the same time, heartwarming–yes, you read that right.

    For one, Bad Words was the first ever straight-up comedy I have ever experienced at TIFF. Of course, so many movies have heavy comedic instances, but I can assure you, Bad Words will have you laughing so hard, that at times, you’ll find it hard to hear the next bit of dialogue (I’m warning you from experience).

    The film opens with unexplained genius Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) entering himself in a Regional Spelling Bee, with a brief flashback explaining how he has been able to register legally. From the moment the movie starts, Bateman has the audience in tears and on the floor laughing as he progresses to the National Spelling Bee, in hot pursuit of all the angry parents and students who he beat at the regionals. Once Bateman makes it to the super bowl of spelling bees, The Golden Quill, along with his travelling documenting reporter Kathryn Hahn (We’re The Millers), hilarity and vulgarity ensue.

    The mystery throughout the film centres on uncovering the reason for Trilby’s anger with the world, constant bitterness and his obsession with winning the bee. The blend of Bateman’s dark direction and stylistic choices, along with screenwriter Andrew Dodge‘s fiercely morbid dialogue allow for the experience to be natural and so unexpected.

    I have no idea if either Bateman or Dodge were inspired at all by Bobcat Goldthwait (World’s Greatest Dad, God Bless America) and his darkly satirical body of work, but if I was told that this film is indeed another addition to that large list of his black comedy of work, I would not doubt it.

    Bad Words is a film that constantly pushes the evelope. Each character Trilby interacts with, whether it be for an extended period of time, or just shortly, Bateman nails each and every scene with a natural sense of arrogance. Trilby’s scenes with “slumdog” (Rohan Chand), a lonely prostitute on the street, or a victimized man going into a bathroom stall, are some of the best in the film. Chand, who was seen earlier this year in the taught war drama Lone Survivor, shares some of the best scenes with Bateman and the two make for an unlikely, yet completely adoring dynamic duo. Watch out for this young and truly talented up-and-comer to make a name for himself in whatever genre he sees fit.

    Bateman undoubtedly has a keen eye for comedy. Rude, crude, and sometimes completely uncalled for, Bad Words was a pleasant change of pace during TIFF and was surely one of the most memorable comedies of the year.

    Expect Bad Words to knock your socks off, because the only thing bad about it, is how much you will find yourself laughing at the most inappropriate things, da*#it!
    Expand
  9. Jul 9, 2014
    7
    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+
  10. Mar 28, 2014
    8
    This movie will easily offend anyone and everyone so dont go watch it if you are offended by racist and misogynistic jokes because they will be there in great numbers. But if you can stomach the jokes and take it as comedy then you will have yourself a good time. We laughed a lot in the movie and most of the jokes are actually targeting south asian people (like me lol) but like i said, ifThis movie will easily offend anyone and everyone so dont go watch it if you are offended by racist and misogynistic jokes because they will be there in great numbers. But if you can stomach the jokes and take it as comedy then you will have yourself a good time. We laughed a lot in the movie and most of the jokes are actually targeting south asian people (like me lol) but like i said, if you take it as a comedy and not personally then you will have yourself a good time. If not, then avoid it. Expand
  11. Mar 29, 2014
    8
    Trust the critics giving this movie a good review, as they obviously knew what the hell they were watching. "Bad Words" is a fantastically funny movie showing Jason Bateman at his best! Speaking of Jason Bateman, this movie also marks his first directorial debut, and might I add, what a fine way to start! "Bad Words" not only delivers on the jokes, but delivers a simple, but sweet plot asTrust the critics giving this movie a good review, as they obviously knew what the hell they were watching. "Bad Words" is a fantastically funny movie showing Jason Bateman at his best! Speaking of Jason Bateman, this movie also marks his first directorial debut, and might I add, what a fine way to start! "Bad Words" not only delivers on the jokes, but delivers a simple, but sweet plot as well. Most comedies lately seem to be forgetting that a movie can't just be funny by writing funny jokes into it, but by using those funny jokes around situations or experiences that we as viewers can relate to and have a good laugh about. Though I figure none of us have ever tried to enter a spelling bee as a 40-year old man, maybe there are people out there who've had similar experiences at spelling bees or can relate to Jason Bateman's characters problems growing up.

    Anyway, this movie holds no bards at the amount of dirty/racist/offensive jokes thrown at you, which makes this movie even more awesome! Oh! If you're a fan of Jason's "Michael Bluth" character from the TV show Arrested Development, you'll enjoy his performance here, as I got a similar vibe from his character in this movie, though "Michael Bluth" isn't as foul-mouthed as "Guy" from this movie.

    Have fun and enjoy this movie!
    Expand
  12. May 12, 2014
    0
    It is desperately trying to be funny and does not care about the story at all. The laughs in this film are all mean-spirited or just frat-boy gross. Last but not least the movie gives some of the most annoying characters on the big screen.
  13. Jun 14, 2014
    3
    Not a really good movie behind all that hype. Silly, trying to be serious but plays for laughs that hardly exist. Entertaining? Sure it is, but completely forgettable with positive messages that manage to not be fully delivered.
  14. Mar 28, 2014
    7
    Jason Bateman's directorial debut, Is a fun, Rude, Comedic adventure that is sure to entertaine fans of the genera, All though I did find that this movie was just too fast paced.
  15. Apr 7, 2014
    4
    Bad Words might offer a few laughs, but it also gives us some of the most annoying characters ever put on screen, and a weak story. Like I said the humor can have its moments, but it's mostly racist or mean jokes. I can't give Bad Words any more credit then that.
  16. Aug 15, 2014
    9
    Jason Bateman's character is a rude and mean person who's mad at the world and the humor does a great job of capturing this. It's honestly a laugh riot and the motivation of the goofy plot idea ends up turning into some emotional stuff. Bateman does a great job as the director and as the main character. His chemistry with the almost too young for this type of movie Rohan Chand is excellentJason Bateman's character is a rude and mean person who's mad at the world and the humor does a great job of capturing this. It's honestly a laugh riot and the motivation of the goofy plot idea ends up turning into some emotional stuff. Bateman does a great job as the director and as the main character. His chemistry with the almost too young for this type of movie Rohan Chand is excellent and adds a little more emotion and humor to the mix. Perhaps the conclusion of the spelling bee is a little obvious and predictable, but the rest of the movie feels fresh and most importantly hilarious. For that I give it a 9.8/10. Expand
  17. Aug 16, 2014
    8
    Good comedies are rare these days. Really, you can count the good ones from the last several years on your fingers with room to spare. This is good mainly because it avoids the pitfall of most of the lousy comedies out there today — it refuses to go down the dreaded easy path of "goofy."
    Bad Words follows the lead of another under appreciated film, Young Adult (2011) with Charlize Theron.
    Good comedies are rare these days. Really, you can count the good ones from the last several years on your fingers with room to spare. This is good mainly because it avoids the pitfall of most of the lousy comedies out there today — it refuses to go down the dreaded easy path of "goofy."
    Bad Words follows the lead of another under appreciated film, Young Adult (2011) with Charlize Theron. Both are centered on deeply damaged characters who quit the life that is no longer offering them anything and revert to a period that they (wrongly) assume to be a safe haven. In Young Adult Charlize Theron returns to the small town where she once was Queen of it all. Bateman's character in Bad Words steps back into the shoes of his 8th grade self that he's now much more prepared to handle.
    Expand
  18. Sep 4, 2014
    7
    If anything else: bold and hilarious. Jason Bateman shines in his directorial debut. Bad Words is the type of movie that intrigues you amidst an unbelievable quirky piece of cinema.
  19. Oct 18, 2014
    5
    Sometimes amusing, almost always vulgar, and extremely immoral; Bad Words contains shock value by the ton, but it won't stick with you very long, and it's rarely laugh out loud funny. Bateman's character is one outrageously unrestrained person. You can't really think of anyone who'd play him better. Most of his schemes though are too mean spirited to be funny. Instead they just makeSometimes amusing, almost always vulgar, and extremely immoral; Bad Words contains shock value by the ton, but it won't stick with you very long, and it's rarely laugh out loud funny. Bateman's character is one outrageously unrestrained person. You can't really think of anyone who'd play him better. Most of his schemes though are too mean spirited to be funny. Instead they just make you angry. The movie ends alright, and the young Indian kid who serves as Guy's sidekick is a funny character, but there's simply no boundaries with this movie. Soon Guy is taking him to bars, sneaking him alcoholic drinks, and having him cavort with prostitutes. The movie throws away all of its potential trying to shock out laughs, when it is merely being disgusting instead. Expand
  20. Jul 17, 2014
    3
    Bad Words is truly one of the unfunniest films I've seen since Ride Along, and the sad part is that it had so much potential but it just ends up coming off as a film that's trying too hard to get a laugh out of you. Bateman is a funny guy and definitely has some talent as far as directing goes, but when it comes to writing both he and his team need to be more picky about the scripts thatBad Words is truly one of the unfunniest films I've seen since Ride Along, and the sad part is that it had so much potential but it just ends up coming off as a film that's trying too hard to get a laugh out of you. Bateman is a funny guy and definitely has some talent as far as directing goes, but when it comes to writing both he and his team need to be more picky about the scripts that they choose; because this was a huge miss! Expand
  21. Nov 22, 2014
    1
    This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. The acting was flat, the story was lame and predictable. The movie had zero suspense because you're not even aware of the overall plot until about 2/3rds the way through the movie. I did not care one bit what happened to the horribly mean spirited main character. The jokes are unfunny, generally involving either sex or cruel jokes played onThis is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. The acting was flat, the story was lame and predictable. The movie had zero suspense because you're not even aware of the overall plot until about 2/3rds the way through the movie. I did not care one bit what happened to the horribly mean spirited main character. The jokes are unfunny, generally involving either sex or cruel jokes played on children. I really don't see why that's funny, and I love stupid/cruel movies when it's done the right way (Dumb and Dumber, The Ice Harvest, etc.)

    The directing is bad too, there is much lens flaring and halos which are huge distractions. The only thing good here is the kid, who is played superbly and is by far the most entertaining part of the movie.

    While I did chuckle a few times, overall I was pretty much waiting to be surprised/entertained, and wondering when that might happen. And then the credits started to roll and I knew it never would.
    Expand
  22. chw
    Oct 4, 2014
    6
    Jason Bateman picked an off film to use as his directorial debut in films. Bad Words was basically pointless, no lesson learned, and overall inappropriate.
  23. Nov 21, 2014
    5
    I applaud Jason Bateman in his first directing effort but this one just didn't quite do it for me. I did get a few chuckles here and there but it wasn't that funny. I thought the story was a little stupid to begin with. I like the banter between Bateman and his East Indian friend. That was a cute/funny highlight of the film. This film was not all bad so I'd like to see Bateman back in theI applaud Jason Bateman in his first directing effort but this one just didn't quite do it for me. I did get a few chuckles here and there but it wasn't that funny. I thought the story was a little stupid to begin with. I like the banter between Bateman and his East Indian friend. That was a cute/funny highlight of the film. This film was not all bad so I'd like to see Bateman back in the director chair in the future. Expand
  24. Dec 9, 2014
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Bad Words is a slow, boring dark comedy revolving around an adult's attempt at revenge through a spelling bee. What appears to be the premise for a comedy sketch is stretched into a feature length film bloated with a copious amount of crude and vulgar jokes. The characters are unlikable, particular Guy Trilby who attempts to redeem himself only to have little in empathy from the audience. The only positive is that of Bateman's directorial debut showing promise for his potential behind the camera. A few Bad Words could be said about this film, but we'll keep it PG unlike this narrative felt necessary. Expand
  25. Nov 13, 2014
    8
    "Bad Words" 10 Scale Rating: 7.5 (Very Good) ...

    The Good: Jason Bateman is fantastic as Guy Trilby, an angry and amoral 40 year old man who decides to win the national spelling bee to stick it to his absent father. Bateman's wit and timing was impeccable and was actually laugh out loud funny at times. Usually playing the straight man or "good guy", it was refreshing to see him play a
    "Bad Words" 10 Scale Rating: 7.5 (Very Good) ...

    The Good: Jason Bateman is fantastic as Guy Trilby, an angry and amoral 40 year old man who decides to win the national spelling bee to stick it to his absent father. Bateman's wit and timing was impeccable and was actually laugh out loud funny at times. Usually playing the straight man or "good guy", it was refreshing to see him play a crass a-hole. The setup is good and is a very amusing idea. The supporting cast was excellent and the film is one of the better dark comedies of the last couple of years. Bateman also directed the film and shows a lot of skill in doing so.

    The Bad: At times Trilby is a little TOO crass and for a brief moments becomes difficult to root for. Films like this work when there is a fine line between being a rude jerk and having something more underneath. This film, for the most part, succeeded but came dangerously close to crossing that line.
    Expand
Metascore
57

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: Drew McWeeny
    Apr 18, 2014
    83
    [Bateman] proves himself just as comfortable behind the camera as he in in front of it, and "Bad Words" is very, very good as a result.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Mar 28, 2014
    40
    The problems here are more with the story, which, even at just 89 minutes, feels a touch repetitive at times.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Everett Green
    Mar 27, 2014
    25
    The laughs in this film are all mean-spirited or just frat-boy gross.