Bad Words Blu-ray Review
In most movies, the hero (or heroine) is someone for whom you feel like you could cheer, made up of generally redeeming qualities. But in a few films (and a few notable television shows like THE SOPRANOS or THE SHIELD) the characters we meet are despicable and then we spend the length of the film (or show) figuring out just how we’re supposed to feel for them. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail but I’ve never seen anything like BAD WORDS, starring (and directed by) Jason Bateman. Bateman’s character, Guy Trilby, is probably the most hate-able character he’s ever played. So why do I like him so much?
BAD WORDS is the story of Mr. Trilby, a forty-ish loner who is competing in a children’s spelling bee as our film opens. When one parent mistakenly asks if he’s a parent, then the host, Trilby responds flatly that he is ‘The Winner’ and walks away from the Dad, who is completely taken aback. We don’t know why Guy is up there on the stage with the kids, or how he seems to know how to spell everything but we are introduced to the story gradually through a few expository voice-overs from Mr. Bateman to accompany (and set up) the primary narrative. It’s good because at first the movie feels like it might lack direction, more of a showcase for a guy saying terrible (but unbelievable and funny) things to parents around whom we all might feel a little bit uncomfortable.
But soon we learn his ire is not for any specific type of person; Guy is an equal opportunity offender. He just doesn’t care what anyone seems to think of him. But chipping away at Guy’s rough exterior are his companion/sponsor for the spelling bee Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn) and from a fellow spelling bee contestant, Chaitanya Chopra (genuinely played by the lovable, young Rohan Chand), who Guy refers to as “Slumdog”. As the story progresses, I was surprised at just how much I cared for Trilby and how much I really wanted to know why he is doing what he is doing.
Along the way there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments as well as moments where you might laugh and immediately cringe and say ‘oooh… that’s not okay’. But with Bateman’s wry delivery and the incredibly smart writing, as well as some other great casting in the supporting cast of players, BAD WORDS will keep you on your toes even as you wonder why you are rooting for Trilby. That’s the genius of BAD WORDS – the narration by Bateman plays on an almost subconscious level (we naturally trust the narrator in most films), and it is here that Bateman provides his usual, genuine tone. And we want Trilby to be redeemable.
Sadly – the third act of the movie devolves into fairly standard fare. Instead of carrying everything through the entire film the story becomes just a feel-good, everybody’s happy-ending that is disappointing after BAD WORDS has come cannon-balling down from the sky in the first two acts. It doesn’t ruin the movie, and for some of you it will probably be the reason you like it, but it just didn’t fit the overall tone of the movie and left me wishing for something different. Regardless – this is definitely one you should check out if you don’t mind a little LOT of rough humor.
BAD WORDS BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.40:1) The video presentation of BAD WORDS is very nice. Bateman shows some real prowess with direction and the transfer is crisp.
Audio: (English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) The audio for BAD WORDS is immersive and very well mixed for a movie with heavy dialogue. It keeps you right alongside
Deleted and Extended Scenes (06:37) Quite a few scenes from BAD WORDS are included here. Most were cut to keep the story moving along. There are a few funny moments but as per usual they were cut for good reason.
The Minds and Mouths Behind BAD WORDS (10:32) This is a great featurette, almost as entertaining as BAD WORDS itself. Highly recommended if you like to see how movies come together.
Audio Commentary with director Jason Bateman (01:29:02) Bateman delivers an expert commentary on BAD WORDS, though it can feel a little bit dry when compared to the source material. But he covers a great amount of information in a short period of time while still managing to be entertaining. Very, very good if you like commentaries and highly recommended if you love this movie.
The BAD WORDS Blu-ray comes in a combo-pack with a DVD copy of the film as well as UltraViolet and iTunes digital copies.