Jason Bateman -- who also directs -- is Guy Trilby. He's a 40-year--old genius who dropped out of school in the eighth grade. Trilby finds a loophole in a national spelling bee competition. It lets him participate and compete against kids a third his age.
His goal is vengeance for a childhood slight, but you're not let in on the why until late in first-time writer Andrew Dodge's fun screenplay. The secretive Trilby is trailed by Kathryn Hahn who is Jenny Widgeon, a reporter fascinated by his quest.
Trilby isn't content to just compete. He's a petty, nasty dispositioned man who plays dirty tricks on his competition and the contest's leadership that are worthy of the Nixon White House.
Bateman is brilliant as the narcissistic Trilby. The connection and comedy chemistry is terrific between him, Hahn and first-timer Rohan Chand, who plays a kid in the competition with zero relationship with his parents.
To put it as succinctly, Bad Words spells a nice little comedy.
-- Does Mr. Movie's movie criticism spell perfection? M-A-Y-B-E. Let him know at www.tri-cityherald.com/arts/mrmovie.
Director: Jason Bateman
Stars: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney, Philip Baker Hall, Rohan Chand
Mr. Movie rating: 4 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It is playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.