a's Review of Bad Words
Bad Words is not fully your conventional "spelling bee" movie, nor is it totally a "Sour man meets inspiring kid and kid improves man" movie. Instead of it being more Akeelah and the Bee, it is more a strange blend of Bad Teacher meets Young Adult, with no remorse in tact (There is a strange suspicion why Seth Rogen wasn't part of this) and suffering from at times the typical cliches from these types of film (case and point: the climax-ending).
I'll give credit to Bateman to try something new. It doesn't always work what he does (Too many Guy Ritchie "slow-mo movement" scenes), and it's hard to root for this guy he plays. As a fan of Bateman, it's almost too shocking at times to see him play someone so nasty (even to the point of psychotic), which in his many roles as the straight man, scrapes the surface but finally breaks free as if he's finally gone mad from holding it all in.
Still, the laugh ratio is still high enough even if it is mostly for nasty pranks and there are some great moments between him, Hahn, and Rohan Chand, the true star of the film. He really is what sets the film apart from the other aforementioned films and makes the film unique. The spelling bee segments, arguably the most exciting parts, are shot really well. Another complaint is the character Phillip Baker Hall plays. It's not really fleshed out in all the madness.
I think Bateman might have had a good hit, not a home run here, he's hoping he learns from his mistakes and continues to do what he does best.