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Jason Bateman
Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney, Philip Baker Hall
Writing Credits:
Andrew Dodge

A spelling bee loser sets out to exact revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win as an adult.

Box Office:
$10 Million.
Opening Weekend
$113,301 on 6 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5..1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 7/8/2014

• Audio Commentary with Director/Actor Jason Bateman
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• “The Minds and Mouths Behind Bad Words” Featurette
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Bad Words [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 25, 2016)

After a long, successful career as an actor, Jason Bateman graduated to feature film director with 2013’s Bad Words. Guy Trilby (Bateman) finds himself with a solitary, aimless life at the age of 40.

Unhappy with his status, Guy goes down an unusual path. Via a loophole in the rules, Guy finds a way to participate in a children’s spelling bee, which he chooses to do to exact revenge for perceived wrongs he suffered earlier in life. We follow Guy’s path through the tournaments as well as the impact of his personal issues.

As Bad Words started, a few factors led me to fear it would end up as a dud. For one, the whole idea behind the film seemed one-note. The “high-concept” premise of an adult in a spelling bee threatened to become a dead end with nothing else behind it once you got past the inherent silliness.

In addition, the movie’s first few minutes prompted signs Bateman might suffer from “First Time Director’s Disease” – aka, trying too hard. For a simple dialogue scene, Bateman goes all Michael Bay on us, with a camera that spins so much I thought I’d get motion-sick.

Happily, Bateman settles down pretty quickly, so most of the rest of Words lacks the same level of cinematic overreach. Bateman allows himself the occasional filmmaking indulgence, but he usually keeps matters fairly straightforward and focused on the characters.

As for the story itself, it manages to broaden beyond the basic conceit fairly well. For the most part, the narrative follows a fairly standard – it’s not a spoiler to reveal that Guy matures and becomes less angry by the film’s end – but it still throws in some curveballs that allow it to remain interesting.

To my relief, that happens with the movie’s most perilous plot choice: Guy’s friendship with bee competitor Chaitanya Chopra (Rohan Chand). At times this element threatens to harpoon the whole project, but the script ensures that the movie retains the necessary edge. What could’ve become a fatal flaw ends up as a strength.

That’s largely because Guy’s maturation feels natural. The movie doesn’t neuter him but it develops him in a realistic way. “Angry Guy” is funnier, but I’m glad the movie managed to give him some breadth.

Though it does occasionally threaten to collapse under the thinness of its premise, Bad Words does more right than wrong. Add an excellent supporting cast and the movie turns into an enjoyable experience.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

Bad Words appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie came with positive visuals.

Sharpness was mostly strong. The occasional slightly soft shot materialized, but those instances remained rare, so the majority of the flick came across as accurate and well-defined. No shimmering or jaggies popped up, and I saw no edge haloes or print flaws.

Colors tended toward teal, amber and orange, with a heavy emphasis on amber/orange. Within those stylistic choices, the hues seemed fine. Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows were smooth and clear. This became a solid presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it seemed lackluster, mainly due to a complete lack of sonic ambition. Music showed nice stereo imaging, but effects came across with little presence. Some scenes showed minor accentuation of environmental elements – such as crowd noise - but these don’t bring much to the package.

Audio quality seemed fine. Music was warm and full, while dialogue sounded natural and concise. Effects had little to do, but they remained accurate enough. This was a low-key soundtrack.

As we shift to extras, we locate an audio commentary with director/actor Jason Bateman. In this running, screen-specific chat, he discusses story/characters, cast and performances, editing and cut scenes, music, sets and locations, and related topics.

For the most part, Bateman offers a good look at the film. He does fade at times and leave a few dead spots, but those seem fairly infrequent. Overall Bateman covers the movie in a reasonably satisfying manner.

Seven Deleted and Extended Scenes fill a total of six minutes, 37 seconds. Most of these offer brief additions that don’t make the sequences better – indeed, most fare worse with the extra footage. I do like the totally new segment in which Dr. Deagan resigns – it’s unnecessary for the film but it’s funny.

The Minds and Mouths of Bad Words runs 10 minutes, 32 seconds and includes comments from Bateman, writer Andrew Dodge, and actors Allison Janney, Rachael Harris, Kathryn Hahn, Philip Baker Hall, Ben Falcone and Rohan Chand. “Mouths” looks at Bateman’s desire to direct and what attracted him to the film, story/character areas, cast and performances, and Bateman’s approach to the material. Despite the clip’s brevity, it works pretty well as an overview.

The disc opens with ads for Walk of Shame, Wish I Was Here, The Fluffy Movie, The Signal and A Haunted House 2. Previews adds promos for The World’s End, For a Good Time, Call…, Beginners, Moonrise Kingdom, A Haunted House and Hit & Run. No trailer for Words appears here.

Despite occasionally miscalculations, Bad Words usually provides a pretty entertaining character piece. It expands beyond its wacky premise to deliver a witty tale. The Blu-ray offers solid picture with adequate audio and a mostly informative commentary. Dark but enjoyable, Bad Words offers a good “black comedy”.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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