Monday, March 17, 2014

A Few Nice Words About Jason Bateman's Bad Words

Jason Bateman has officially directed his first feature film...
And it ain't half bad. Actually, I found myself really enjoying Bad Words; also the first screenplay credit for newcomer Andrew Dodge. It's not that it was game changing, or wildly inventive. It was just a well made movie with the temperament of Bad Santa... but not nearly as filthy and with a considerably better pay off at the end. No, I think Bad Words was just solid. It played with the idea of this adult who seems to hate everyone and everything and joins a Spelling Bee because the rules are out of date and easily loopholed just to get a chance to... well actually I don't wanna spoil any of the fun.
Bad Words moves very well. At no point did I feel like a shot didn't belong or an edit was out of place (a frequent problem with first time directors). In point of fact, the movie was fluid and looked great. The actors were on point and Jason Bateman really found a script that played to his personal strengths. Every moment of his is well timed and it just makes me wish that other projects he becomes a part of in the future allow him this kind of room to play.
Rohan Chand did his job with clever abandon. It's so fun to watch a kid at his age, 10 now, really play so well off of an adult. He's really the second lead and should be credited as such. Kathryn Hahn was fine, but nothing particularly special. But when Allison Janney came on screen I knew this was gonna be a good time. Her role was so well defined in just limited time. Same goes for Philip Baker Hall. The man was honestly perfect for this role.

It's so nice walking into a theatre without any expectations, knowing practically nothing beforehand, and coming back out having seen a quality film. 2014 is just getting started, but Bad Words is a welcome change of pace coming out of the dead season post winter break.

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