Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

Bad Words Review Critics


Dave White Profile

A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Village Voice Stephanie Zacharek

    Bateman, as both director and star, digs his heels in too hard to make the movie's points, using lots of ho-hum close-ups and wriggly camera work along the way.

    Read Full Review

  • 30

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    For precursors of Guy's perversity, one would have to go back to W.C. Fields, who made antic art out of his characters' abhorrence of children.

    Read Full Review

  • 38

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    It's tough to summon sufficiently negative language to describe the unfunny, desperate mess that is Bad Words.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    Variety Justin Chang

    This exuberantly foul-mouthed and mean-spirited comedy goes somewhat soft in the final stretch but remains an often uproarious model of sharp scripting and spirited acting.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore

    Choosing it for his debut as director, Bateman demonstrates the same knack for timing and fine shadings of attitude as he does onscreen.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Richard Roeper

    Bad Words is the kind of pitch-black dark comedy that makes you wince even as you give up on stifling the chuckles.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Bateman deserves props for sustaining Bad Words as a little balancing act between sulfurously funny hatred and humanity.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Bad Words reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 16 & under

Comedy best for older teens gets laughs with offbeat humor.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bad Words is a mostly hilarious, sharp-edged comedy, with lots of crude humor. Though it features children as part of its cast, it's not kid-friendly. In fact, its lead character spares nobody his caustic verbal attacks, including kids. Prepare to hear loads of insulting and coarse language, including "c--ksucker," "s--t" and "f--k." There are also a few scenes showing a couple having sex, though we see only their faces, and a brief view from above the waist. An adult discusses sex with a child as if they're the same age, and even hires a prostitute to show off her breasts to him, which viewers see as well.

  • Families can talk about Guy's relationship with Chaitanya: What draws them together? Why does Chaitanya put up with Guy's insults?
  • Guy Trilby swears a lot. Do you think the filmmakers drive home this point way too often, or is it necessary for his character? Discuss swearing in movies with your family.

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Even the biggest grump can be softened, if only a little bit, with love, friendship, and understanding. Expect some sexist and racist comments played for humor.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Guy Trilby isn't exactly a role model. He's bitter, angry, and insulting. He's the kind of mean grouch who calls a little boy of Indian heritage "shwarma" and "tikka masala." However, he does follow an interesting trajectory in the movie, landing in a much warmer emotional space than when we first meet him. It's Chaitanya Chopra, his 10-year-old competitor at a spelling bee, who's more generous-hearted than most anyone else in the movie.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: A man verbally tears apart the people around him -- children, included -- and seems to be immune to the feelings of others, throwing insults and curses at them whenever they get in his way. In one scene, he derides a woman with graphic descriptions of her genitalia. Parents throw a chair and spit at a car carrying a hated spelling-bee rival.

  • sex false3

    Sex: A couple is shown having sex in a supply closet -- we see only their faces but it's clear they're having sex from their conversation, movements, and facial expressions. It's played as over-the-top funny, not seductively. A man hires a prostitute to show off her breasts to a 10-year-old boy, which we see, too. The boy later asks if he can touch them. Again this is played for laughs, but it has a very sharp edge. A boy bugs an adult, who, irritated, mentions the word "auto-fellatio" to the child.

  • language false4

    Language: A movie about a spelling bee is word-crazy, including curse words: "s--t," "---hole," "hell," "screw," "d--keater," "c--ksucker" and "f--k," sometimes said by, or in front of, a child.

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Some labels: Apple, Kahlua, Ford, Jameson.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Guy tends to drink a lot, whenever he finds himself near a bar or mini-bar. Sometimes he passes out drunk, and he's also shown driving soon after downing shots, with a child as passenger. Some adults smoke in the movie.