Bad Words Movie and Other Wastes of Time

03.13.14

This time of year is a strange one. Spring Break isn’t a slow time at Mr G’s office and it’s also a spendy time of year (property taxes, tuition deposits, regular old taxes … ) so I was slow to make a travel plan and we’re a little bit stuck with a whole lot of nothing.

Typically I can pull out some sort of last minute getaway but with the cold winter we’ve had everyplace warm seems to be completely booked with New Englanders. A weekend in Palm Springs will be more expensive than a week in Mexico so I’m reduced to behavior like this.

 

And I’m pretty sure it won’t even work so we’ll staycation and in my house you’ll hear phrases like, “You can’t make us go paddleboarding again.” Or, “I hate Six Flags.” and my personal favorite, “The beach is boring.” Which is when I’ll offer them some manual labor to stave off the boredom and they’ll hop on their bicycles and flee the neighborhood like rats on a sinking ship.

We’ll probably see a few movies too but we won’t be seeing Bad Words. First of all it’s rated R and it’s a hard R so you don’t want your young teen seeing it. Your older teen will go see it anyhow and probably not tell you so that’s okay, they’ll be punished by sitting through the most dreadful movie I’ve seen in ages.

I would have walked out of Bad Words but it was a screening and it would have freaked out the weird guys who laughed before the “funny” parts. Do they do that? Do studios hire people to laugh at the funny parts of comedies at screenings? Because there were two men with enormous booming laughs that would explode thunderously microseconds before something funny happened. Except that the funny parts weren’t actually funny.

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Let me explain the unfunny funny movie. You see I love Jason Bateman. He was exquisite in Arrested Development and very funny in Horrible Bosses. He’s clearly a talented actor for a certain type of character (middle aged guy beaten up by his upper middle class existence). I was going to just not mention the movie because who wants to carve out yet another hour of their day to write about a bad movie? It’s easier to just let it pass.

Then I heard Bateman give an interview to Howard Stern and I about lost it. He compared his character to Archie Bunker. I was sputtering and stammering and “Are you out of your fucking mind”-ing. These is nothing about Bateman’s unfunny Guy Trilby that could even approach All in the Family. All in the Family was perfectly written and expertly directed, it exploited a moment in time and highlighted a generational divide while tempering the anger with familial love.

Bad Words had a funny premise and a flawed and angry execution. The timing was odd and uncomfortable, void of levity and there was no sense that anyone was in on any joke. The closest we come to love is a strange relationship between Trilby and a ten year old boy, Chatianya Chopra played by Rohan Chand. It wasn’t good or fulfilling and I don’t know that it was meant to be.

Forgive me for thinking this but maybe Jason Bateman could have been a director or an actor but not both? The story was a bit of a non-story and the whole plot unfolded in the last 10 minutes, further the movie began with narration. If I wanted to be read to I’d listen to an audiobook. If I want to see a movie show me the story. This story could have been shown.

Bad Words had the beginning of a good idea and the possibility of some funny moments but the timing was off and the jokes were just unfunny. If you want to see the best parts of the movie, watch the trailer. There’s really nothing more waiting for you.

I’m not a comedienne so I don’t know how to craft the perfect punchline but I’m also not a doctor and I’m capable of identifying gross malpractice when I see it. Bad Words was a bad movie, and I really wanted to like it.