There is very little to be said about Jason Bateman’s performance in Bad Words. In Bateman’s directorial debut, it’s as if he directed everyone but himself. Playing the monotone, bitter, character might be bearable, even funny, for a scene, but never changing your character is exhausting. By the middle of the film I had lost all interested in what was motivating this character to compete.
The speculation on why Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) character is a fairly large element in the film but by the time it is answered it makes very little impact. Even the resolution of the film when Guy finally has the opportunity to express himself it is wasted on an anti-climatic poor me party.
It’s not just that Bateman’s character is unlikable, there have been plenty of enjoyable films with unbearable main characters. It’s that nothing about the film excites or seems realistic. Regardless of the rules there is no way an older gentlemen is competing the national spelling bee. There is no way a father allows his pre-teen son to spend so much time with an adult male alone. There is no way that a genius doesn’t accomplish anything in life because of a grudge. There are so many factors of the film that make you think, “yeah, that’s not right” to actually feel satisfied when something positive does occur.
This film reminded me a lot of Flight, there was so much room to explore, and it was all held down by a character that wouldn’t let it succeed. I am a firm believer that there has to be something, just one thing, that makes a character attractive, but in Bad Words, everything Jason Bateman’s character touches turns to stress.
Rohan Chand plays Chaitanya Chopra, and with a name like that it is easy to see why he needed to be so good at spelling. Rohan’s character is the bright spot in the film. If you had a horse that had three broken legs, Rohan would be the one leg keeping it in the race. As we all know though, it only takes one leg to be broken for that horse to be put down.
This film makes you want to grab Jason Bateman and yell, “I get it, we all get it. Please, you’re Jason Bateman, you have so much potential, make something enjoyable”. That’s really all audience’s want, is to escape their lives and live vicariously through another character. Hell, we’ve kept Will Ferrell around long enough he might actually be funny one of these times.
In The Lego Movie the “Everything is Awesome” song was rammed down our throats for the first 20 minutes. This movie rams down “Everything Sucks” for an hour straight.
To conclude this review/rant I would like to say that it’s really not all that bad, it just never even attempted to be positive. I understand that was the movie, and what was intended was most likely accomplished, it just wasn’t fun.