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Bad Words

MPAA Rating: R for crude and sexual content, language and brief nudity.
not reviewed
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Primary Audience:
1 hr. 28 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 14, 2014 (6 select theaters)
March 21, 2014 (87 theaters)
March 28, 2014 (842 theaters)
DVD: July 8, 2014
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Featuring: Jason BatemanGuy Trilby
Kathryn Hahn … Jenny Widgeon
Amanda Anka … National Public Television Narrator
Rohan Chand … Chaitanya Chopra
Philip Baker Hall … Dr. Bowman
Allison Janney … Dr. Bernice Deagan
Ben Falcone … Pete Fowler
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Director: Jason Bateman
Producer: Aggregate Films
Darko Entertainment
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Distributor: Focus Features
Copyrighted, Focus Features

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “A spelling bee loser sets out to exact revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win as an adult.

Jason Bateman portrays Guy Trilby, a 40-year-old man seeking catharsis in his life. He seizes the ideal that this will come for him through… the National Spelling Bee; after discovering a loophole in the rules, Guy zealously joins the competition and easily outpaces the pre-teen field in match after match. As reporter Jenny Widgeon (Kathryn Hahn) delves into Guy’s story, Guy finds himself forging an unlikely friendship with a competitor, awkward 10-year-old Chaitanya (Rohan Chand), which may spell things differently for his future.

As the competition weekend progresses, Guy teaches Chaitanya some dark comedic life lessons, and the pair begin to form an unlikely friendship, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Jenny (Hahn), a reporter who has agreed to fund Guy’s competition and travel expenses in exchange for his exclusive story. With a long list of detractors and distractions that threaten to derail Guy from the competition, he must find a way to stay focused on his true mission and compete for what he so badly wants to win.”

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Movie Critics

…Dark humor, sarcasm and biting comedy punctuate “Bad Words”… At times “Bad Words” has a tendency to over-bite — a series of extremely expressive sex scenes comes to mind. But Bateman seems to sense it and pulls back before patience runs out. …
—Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

…A scouringly funny tale of ill-conceived revenge. … Probably the most effective pipe bomb of misanthropic comedy since “Bad Santa”…
—John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

…Bateman deserves props for sustaining Bad Words as a little balancing act between sulfurously funny hatred and humanity. [A-]
—Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

…Bateman's character and — true to his urge to break out of a rut — …is duplicitous, foul-mouthed and full of the kind of racist invective that would end even the rawest stand-up’s career. …
—Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

…Jason Bateman makes an auspicious directing debut with this exuberantly foul-mouthed and mean-spirited comedy. …
—Justin Chang, Variety

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