The tagline for this film goes "the end justifies the mean." Now, this may be a very truthful tagline, but that's no excuse for how much of an unrelatable asshole Jason Bateman's character is. Bad Words follows the story of this character, Guy is his name, a forty year old man who's taking advantage of a loophole in the rules of a national spelling bee competition. So, to take vengeance over something done to him the past, he insists on remaining in the competition until its bitter end, or the larger end (if you want to quote a far superior comedy, The World's End).
Bad Words is an original, funny and occasionally sweet comedy, if not a bit predictable too. While I will delve into my many problems that I have with Bad Words, I shall begin by stating that this film is very easy to swallow. It's not complex or in depth, but it has enough charm and wit to make it very watchable. The screenplay by Andrew Dodge, while containing more than a few jokes that take it a little too far for my liking, is wonderful. As the film progresses it turns away from its despicable past and into its charming, hilarious and incredibly enjoyable finale that even packs in a bit of heart. There isn't, however, too many characters that I was compelled to root for. Guy, as I suggested in the previous paragraph, is a terrible human being. He's rude, obnoxious, shallow and self-centred. He's not the ideal protagonist, although that is perhaps the point of this movie, to show him change as a human being.
As well as Jason Bateman's character being a dick, Kathryn Hahn's character, although a little less douchey, failed to be funny. I've found this to be similar with other films of hers too. She just isn't that funny a person, or at least in the movies I recall seeing her in. Her character is loud and annoying, causing very few laughs from me. Her character doesn't undergo any development throughout the entirety of the film either. Although, not really any of the other characters do until the closing minutes where it's forcefully crammed in.
Bad Words frequently cross the line of believability. There is very little in this film that plays out realistically, it's all exaggerated to make for a more entertaining movie. There's a scene where Guy takes Chaitanya (Rohan Chand), the little kid and fellow competitor that he befriends, to see a prostitute's breasts. This scene may come across funny to the average audience member, but there's no way that it makes sense. The filmmakers try to weave their away around it by having Guy lie to the prostitute about his age, but this just makes the film come across even stupider.
To sum up, Bad Words makes it hard to relate to the main characters and it frequently crosses the line of believability, but that doesn't stop it from being a highly entertaining, rather hilarious, occasionally sweet and very original comedy movie.