By Sandra Kraisirideja
Jason Bateman is adding “director” to his already impressive resume with the darkly humorous comedy, “Bad Words.”
Bateman began his career as a child actor and was able to avoid the embarrassing hijinks that have befallen so many other child actors. He has been working steadily since making his debut on “Little House on the Prairie” in 1981.
He was plugging away with roles in short-lived TV shows and small parts in movies, but in 2003 he got the lead in “Arrested Development” and then four years later gave a memorable performance in “Juno,” which ignited his film career.
After spending so many years in front of the camera it’s no surprise Bateman wanted to try his hand at directing. He does an good job with “Bad Words,” both behind and in front of the camera.
Bateman was also wise to choose material that works well with his style of acting and his inherent likability. Even when the character’s Bateman plays are being jerks the audience still senses there is something decent about the guy.
In “Bad Words” Bateman plays a man who finds a loophole in the rules for the national spelling bee that allows him to compete as an adult. As the film’s title suggests there are many bad words uttered by Bateman with hilarious results.
In the screenplay by Andrew Dodge, Bateman found the perfect vehicle to test drive his directing skills. The story doesn’t require a lot of special effects or excessive locations. It’s a comedy, which Bateman excels at, but has just enough edge that it can fall under the radar.
Helping Bateman out with his directorial debut are several seasoned character actors including Philip Baker Hall, Allison Janney, Ben Falcome and Kathryn Hahn.
The real standout in the movie is Rohan Chand, the young actor who plays the main competition for Bateman’s character. The two have good chemistry together and their friendship isn’t the typical coming-of-age variety.
“Bad Words” is a smart, funny R-rated comedy that is worth checking out.