Despite some less than stellar outings in recent memory, Jason Bateman remains one of those actors you love to love. Usually charming, often likable, and every once in awhile a bit off-color, Bateman weathered the Identity Thief storm and came out more or less intact. With his directorial debut Bad Words coming to cinemas in March, we shall soon see whether or not the actor is as good off-camera as he is in front of it.
The film tells the story of Guy Trilby (Bateman), who discovers a loophole in the rules of a national spelling bee that enables him to compete with a bunch of ten year olds for trophies. Angering parents, children, and educators alike, Guy cuts a swath through the spelling bee world while being as nasty to everyone as he possibly can. Things might take a turn for the better when he meets Chaitanya (Rohan Chand), a young spelling bee champ who doesn’t find Guy’s bad behavior off-putting. The cast is rounded by the presence of Alison Janney, Kathryn Hahn, and Phillip Baker-Hall.
The green-band trailer for Bad Words paints an interesting picture of the film. There are hints that Guy might have his reasons for hijacking a national spelling bee, beyond just being a jerk. While the few scenes with Chaitanya give off a Big Daddy vibe – the inappropriateness runs high with this one – if the film avoids sentimentalizing the relationship there’s every chance that it could work.
In the end, we shall have to wait until March to find out if Bateman has the chops to be an effective director of himself and others. Until then, you can watch the green-band trailer below and let us know what you think in the comments.
Bad Words goes into limited release March 14, and opens nationwide March 28.