Wednesday, April 16, 2014
You show me a funny child actor, and I will probably watch your movie... You show me a funny, Indian child actor, and I will probably long for you movie! Before I even watched Bad Words, I knew that Rohan Chand's role as Jason Bateman's 10 year old best friend would probably keep me laughing. If you haven't seen the trailer for Bad Words, watch it here, and take note of the hilarity of Chand's Chaitanya. Nevertheless, the idea behind the film is just so clever, and I hoped that Jason Bateman's directorial debut would deliver on the clever story. In my opinion, Bateman is one of those unfunny funny-guys, who always picks perfect roles for their talents (also see: Paul Rudd, John Stewart). I love Bateman films, but I just don't think he is that funny. Hopefully I'm not the only one who sees him in this way, but, if I am, just trust me...
Unfortunately, the potentially clever storyline was quite scattered, and the film couldn't quite figure out which direction to go. At times, there was a lot of emotion and father-drama. At times, there was a lot of goofy, PG-13ish comedy. At times, Bateman was cursing like a sailor, which felt more R-rated, for sure. If only they had focused in on one type of comedy, then the film probably would have been great. Thankfully, Chand and Bateman were still able to deliver a number of laughs and, somehow, salvage what could have been a disastrous film. Hopefully, in the future, Bateman will get a little more organized. The screenplay involved a large number of hilarious moments, but they were just thrown together, which really hurt the film. From beginning to end, everything felt so random, and some scenes felt quite useless.
As I said above, Jason Bateman is in a unique realm of comedy (to me at least), and, in Bad Words, he didn't shift away from his typical performance. He was good for the role, and the role was funny. However, he contributed very little to the funny. He just read his lines in his normal way and BOOM! he got paid!
I first fell in love with Kathryn Hahn in the very underappreciated Wanderlust, where she showed just how crazy she could be. Throw in her performances in We're the Millers, The Dictator, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and you have someone who could quickly become the next Melissa McCarthy, in my opinion. Unfortunately, considering she didn't make me laugh not a single time in Bad Words, she's going to have to wait a little while longer before garnering that Melissa McCarthy award. I know her character, Jenny Widgeon, wasn't designed to be as goofily funny as a typical Hahn character, but there were times when she was trying to be funny and the laughs did not come. On top of the Hahn disappointment were two big disappointments from Allison Janney, who's Dr. Deagan was forced into the film, and Ben Falcone, who's Pete Fowler was never given the opportunity to make me laugh. So much talent was wasted on this film! It is just sad!
Rohan Chand's Chaitanya Chopra made me want to go out and adopt a random Indian kid, immediately. He had to be the cutest kid ever, and his dorkiness just made everything even better, since I aspire to have dorky children. Without Chand, Bad Words fails miserably, and, when I say miserably, I mean it. Bateman may have been the lead, but Chand carries the film further than Bateman has ever carried anything.
While Jason Bateman's directorial debut did struggle along a good bit, it was a great film for him to give it a try. However, if the scattered nature of Bad Words is not improved upon greatly, Bateman should probably just stick with acting. Thankfully, we do get Horrible Bosses 2 this year! If you haven't seen Horrible Bosses, please go watch it immediately! If you want random laughter, you might really enjoy Bad Words. I just prefer a good, organized storyline, and Bad Words has nothing even close to that. Regardless, kudos are much deserved for Rohan Chand, and I certainly hope that the youngster continues to shine in the future. I give Bad Words 2.03 out of 5 stars.