Bad Words is a raunchy comedy starring Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) as a middle school drop-out who is hustling a national spelling bee competition. Bateman’s character, Guy Trilby, is a middle-aged man that is looking for direction in his life, which he finds by out-spelling pre-teens thanks to a loophole in the rule book. Along the way he forms an unlikely friendship with one of his competitors, played by Rohan Chand (Homeland), which appears to be slightly offensive but delightfully heartwarming.
The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this year, and also marks Bateman’s directorial debut.The cast also includes Kathryn Hahn (Hung) and Allison Janney (West Wing).
In the red-band trailer we see a side of Bateman that is nothing like the beloved Michael Bluth that TV audiences have grown so fond of. The dialogue is rude, derogatory, far from politically correct – but most importantly, funny. The screenplay was penned by Andrew Dodge, who will also be writing a comedy of the same vein for Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones).
The directorial debut is a big personal milestone for Bateman. In an interview with THR, Bateman stated that looking for a directing job is “the only reason I’ve been acting for the last 20 years of this career.” The time has come for Bateman to step behind (and in front of) the camera, and after a 20-year wait for the right opportunity, it’s safe to say he’s taking things seriously.
Perhaps that is why he cast himself as the lead in his own movie. It may seem selfish, but it is also a bold move on Bateman’s part. If the movie flops, there is no one else to blame. Fans of Bateman will no doubt respect his desire to maintain creative control of the movie, which hopefully lives up to the trailer. Bateman has proven himself as an actor, we’ll see if he can pull off his new job as director.
It will be exciting to see Bateman in a role that challenges Bad Santa in its vulgarity. It’s somewhat new territory for Bateman (Horrible Bosses had its moments), but he wouldn’t have picked the script/cast himself unless he was confident that he could nail the part, and I’m sure the rest of his fans expect him too.
Bad Words will hit US theaters on March 21, 2014