Jason Bateman is a good-looking, confident guy on a winning run of late. So you might think it’d be tough to buy him as Guy Trilby, a foul-mouthed, unmarried 40-year-old proofreader who finds a loophole in the Golden Quill Spelling Bee that allows him to enter the kids competition in an attempt to settle a grudge. But like most of his compatriots in Bad Words, which opens nationally this weekend, the dude totally pulls it off. (In his directorial debut, even!)
That’s thanks to an acidly funny script by Andrew Dodge, Kathryn Hahn’s nutty performance as an equal parts mousy and nosy reporter for a website called The Click and Scroll and Alison Janney’s turn as the Bee administrator desperate to boot Trilby out before a horde of angry parents swallows her whole. (Her doomed plan involves feeding him increasingly difficult words like, you know, floccinaucinihilipilification.)
But let’s be honest, none of this would matter if it weren’t for young Rohan Chand, who plays guileless 10-year-old competitor Chaitanya Chopra. So many kid actors are annoying, but Chand is adorably charming, utterly unfazed by Trilby’s ridiculously racist barbs, including the nickname Slumdog. He absorbs every insult with a smile, intent on making Trilby into something he’s never really had: a friend.
As you might surmise, this unlikely pair is destined to turn the whole affair into an unforgettable debacle—on national TV, no less!—to the delight of anyone who enjoys watching an unrepentant asshole mess with hapless kids on his way toward exposing the dark side of seemingly classier individuals. Trust us, it’s pretty hilarious S-H-I-T. See trailer below.