Reviews - Bad Words (2013)
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6.7

Based on 37 485 Ratings

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Bad Words (2013)

Country: USA

Genres: Comedy, Drama

Taglines: The end justifies the mean.

Director: Jason Bateman

Writers: Andrew Dodge

Stars: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Amanda Anka, Rohan Chand, ...

An adult, who has been a school dropout, finds a loophole in the regulations and participates in the largest spelling bee in the USA, The Golden Quill. His aim is to take revenge for something done to him in the past.

91 | 2014-03-12 | Owen Gleiberman

Bateman deserves props for sustaining Bad Words as a little balancing act between sulfurously funny hatred and humanity.
Read More: Entertainment Weekly

88 | 2014-03-19 | Richard Roeper

Bad Words is the kind of pitch-black dark comedy that makes you wince even as you give up on stifling the chuckles.
Read More: Chicago Sun-Times

88 | 2014-03-13 | Peter Travers

Bad Words, starring Jason Bateman in a tour de force of comic wickedness, takes sinful pleasure in rubbing our noses in the toxic joys of revenge.
Read More: Rolling Stone

83 | 2014-04-18 | Drew McWeeny

[Bateman] proves himself just as comfortable behind the camera as he in in front of it, and "Bad Words" is very, very good as a result.
Read More: Hitfix

83 | 2014-03-14 | Peter Rainer

Bad Words does to spelling bees what “Bad Santa” did to Santa Claus.
Read More: Christian Science Monitor

80 | 2014-03-13 | Betsy Sharkey

Sarcastic, sanctimonious, salacious, sly, slight and surprisingly sweet, the black comedy of Bad Words, starring and directed by Jason Bateman, is high-minded, foul-mouthed good nonsense.
Read More: Los Angeles Times

80 | 2013-12-12 | John DeFore

Choosing it for his debut as director, Bateman demonstrates the same knack for timing and fine shadings of attitude as he does onscreen.
Read More: The Hollywood Reporter

80 | 2013-09-14 | Justin Chang

This exuberantly foul-mouthed and mean-spirited comedy goes somewhat soft in the final stretch but remains an often uproarious model of sharp scripting and spirited acting.
Read More: Variety

75 | 2014-03-20 | Steve Persall

Bad Words isn't an entirely auspicious beginning to Bateman's career behind the camera, but a riotous performance suggests what a wonderful louse he can be.
Read More: Tampa Bay Times

75 | 2014-03-20 | Joe Williams

Bad Words is often very funny, thanks to Bateman’s brick-wall malevolence and screenwriter Andrew Dodge’s inventively rude dialogue.
Read More: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

75 | 2014-03-12 | Rex Reed

Although the going is so sluggish at times that the film often looks like it needs artificial respiration, stick it out. The end result is oddly entertaining.
Read More: New York Observer

75 | 2014-03-12 | Roger Moore

The film is full of sharp observations about academic contests today, with Tiger Moms and tough-love Dads browbeating the kids from the wings. The ending is kind of a tap-out, but Bateman keeps this clipping along, maintaining the mean streak and potty mouth that makes Bad Words the dirtiest and funniest comedy of the new year.
Read More: McClatchy-Tribune News Service

70 | 2014-03-20 | Bill Goodykoontz

Where this falls on your personal line between funny and abusive may vary. Either way, what makes the comedy work is that Bateman doesn't relent. Guy is, simply, a loathsome person.
Read More: Arizona Republic

70 | 2014-03-13 | Manohla Dargis

It would be something to see Mr. Bateman go authentically dark (perhaps not that dark), but it’s also enough just to watch him as he widens his eyes, furrows his brow and shows off his excellent timing.
Read More: The New York Times

68 | 2013-09-14 | Jordan Hoffman

While Bad Words is a little too dopey to take seriously, this is compensated for with a handful of truly amusing sequences.
Read More: Film.com

67 | 2014-03-19 | Marjorie Baumgarten

Although Bad Words never quite achieves Bad Santa’s level of misanthropy, the movie is chock-full of racist, sexist, and generally antisocial barbs – not to mention a slew of bad words.
Read More: Austin Chronicle

67 | 2014-03-12 | A.A. Dowd

Even when Bad Words is bad in the wrong way, it tends to be bad in the right way, too.
Read More: The A.V. Club

67 | 2013-09-14 | Eric Kohn

It's less of a showcase for Bateman's ability to direct comedic storytelling than simply to make people laugh, which makes Bad Words a sufficiently vulgar playground.
Read More: indieWIRE

63 | 2014-03-20 | Stephanie Merry

Although his character might be a one-trick pony, Bateman’s directing proves he’s got skills to spare.
Read More: Washington Post

63 | 2014-03-20 | James Berardinelli

There's no debating that Bad Words contains some big, politically incorrect laughs. The movie isn't awash in them but there are enough to keep the chuckles coming. The film's problem is that, despite obvious aspirations to be more than just a profane joke factory, it never fulfills its dramatic ambitions.
Read More: ReelViews

60 | 2014-03-17 | Bilge Ebiri

The film itself is uneven, but it’s kind of awesome seeing Bateman act so vile.
Read More: New York Magazine (Vulture)

60 | 2014-03-13 | Elizabeth Weitzman

For his directorial debut, Bateman returns to his bad-boy beginnings. And the results are predictably amusing.
Read More: New York Daily News

60 | 2014-03-11 | Joshua Rothkopf

Bad Words soars in the bits of riotously offensive chitchat between Guy and a young Indian hopeful (Rohan Chand); it wobbles in plot developments involving the effortlessly starchy Allison Janney as the contest’s “queen bee”; and it splats in the I’m-secretly-hurting conclusion.
Read More: Time Out New York

50 | 2014-03-20 | Marc Mohan

In a movie that strives to offend with every spat profanity and cruel insult, the most shocking thing about Bad Words is that it expects us to care about its main character at all.
Read More: Portland Oregonian

50 | 2014-03-13 | Scott Tobias

Nearly everything good about Bad Words plays off the yin-and-yang dynamic between Guy and Chaitanya—one an endless wellspring of belligerence, the other grinning, excitable, and impossible to rattle.
Read More: The Dissolve

40 | 2014-03-28 | Mike Scott

The problems here are more with the story, which, even at just 89 minutes, feels a touch repetitive at times.
Read More: New Orleans Times-Picayune

40 | 2014-03-13 | Richard Corliss

Bad Words seems to be heading into the creepy realm of a sociopath’s case study, yet it’s presented as a breezy satire about a rebel against the system. It must be the Dictionary-Industrious Complex.
Read More: Time

38 | 2014-03-14 | Christy Lemire

A little bit of nuance, which might seem out of place in such raunchy environs, actually goes a long way.
Read More: RogerEbert.com

38 | 2014-03-13 | Claudia Puig

It's tough to summon sufficiently negative language to describe the unfunny, desperate mess that is Bad Words.
Read More: USA Today

38 | 2014-03-08 | Chris Cabin

The meager comeuppance and hasty notes of sweetness that end the film feel pre-approved rather than organically realized.
Read More: Slant Magazine

30 | 2014-03-13 | Joe Morgenstern

For precursors of Guy's perversity, one would have to go back to W.C. Fields, who made antic art out of his characters' abhorrence of children.
Read More: Wall Street Journal

30 | 2014-03-11 | Stephanie Zacharek

Bateman, as both director and star, digs his heels in too hard to make the movie's points, using lots of ho-hum close-ups and wriggly camera work along the way.
Read More: Village Voice

25 | 2014-03-27 | Robert Everett Green

The laughs in this film are all mean-spirited or just frat-boy gross.
Read More: The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

25 | 2014-03-20 | Peter Keough

Misogynistic, homophobic, scatological — none of these words come up in any of the spelling bees that take place in Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, but they apply to the film.
Read More: Boston Globe

25 | 2014-03-13 | Kyle Smith

A young Jack Nicholson might have pulled this off, but Jason Bateman is not Jack Nicholson. Pity the actor who thinks he’s edgier than he actually is.
Read More: New York Post

25 | 2013-09-14 | Kevin Jagernauth

Bad Words wants so desperately to be funny that there isn't much time left to make any logic out of the story.
Read More: The Playlist