The wacky comedy Bad Words stars Jason Bateman as 40-year-old Guy Trilby, who takes advantage of a loophole to enter The Golden Quill national spelling bee. Naturally his actions spark outrage from the eighth grade contenders and their parents, but Trilby is ruthless in his quest for victory. The film also marks Bateman’s directorial debut.
This is largely a dark, edgy comedy, but despite Trilby’s emotional baggage and some stinging, politically incorrect humor, it has some uplifting moments. The mystery of Trilby’s true motivation is unraveled by a reporter played by Kathryn Hahn (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), who documents the story.
The cast also features Allison Janney, whose most recent work includes a starring role the comedy series Mom; Philip Baker Hall (Argo); Rachael Harris (New Girl); Rohan Chand (Lone Survivor); and Nashville’s Judith Hoag.
Newcomer Andrew Dodge wrote the screenplay.
When The Hollywood Reporter asked Bateman if he was nervous about directing his first feature film with a script by another first-timer, he said, “Not really,” and talked about Dodge’s experience as a story editor. “We sat and worked on it for over a year and really fine-tuned it into something that I felt I could properly navigate.”
Bad Words opens in limited release March 14 and expands nationwide on March 28.