Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bad Words (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Bad Words” Speaks Volumes for Bateman

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Look up “droll” in the dictionary you’ll likely find a picture of Jason Bateman staring back at you. The adjective means “unusual in a way that provokes dry amusement.”

An archaic usage means “a jester, a buffoon, an entertainer.”

Jason Bateman (“Identity Theft,” TV’s “Arrested Development”) is all of that.

Now the droll entertainer is trying his hand at directing. His new film, “Bad Words,” is currently showing at the Tropic Cinema.

In it, Bateman plays a mischievous guy who finds a loophole in the rules of the national spelling bee that allows him to enter, competing with all those kids. He befriends one of the tykes (Rohan Chand), giving the unimpressed boy a look at the wackier side of adulthood. Meanwhile, a reporter (Katherine Hahn) is determined to find out what makes this 40-year-old middle-school dropout tick.

Before Bateman picked this film for his directorial debut, its screenplay had languished on Hollywood’s so-called Black List, a survey of the best-liked scripts that inexplicably have not been produced.

Bateman was eager to get a shot at directing, so he took it on. “Understand that I’m only acting to create the kind of relevance or capital necessary to get a directing job,” Bateman told his agent. ‘It’s really the only reason I’ve been acting for the last 20 years of this career.’

“Bad Words” proved to be a good bet. This, uh, droll comedy is scoring well with audiences. And Bateman’s directing debut is getting high marks from film critics.

That spells success.

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