Directed by: Jason Bateman
Guy Trilby (Bateman) is a 40-year old with both impulse and anger management issues. He is a single proofreader who (apparently) never graduated from the 8th grade, and is using an overlooked loophole in the rules of the National Quill’s Spelling Bee in order to cause no small amount of trouble, by hijacking the competition for his own self-centered, nefarious purpose. Contest officials, outraged parents, and overly ambitious 8th graders all of whom are simply no match for Guy, as he ruthlessly crushes their dreams of victory and fame. In his quest to monkey wrench the spelling bee, he is accompanied by a low-rent reporter, Jenny Widgeon (Hahn), who is both backing and covering his disruption of the even in order to attempt to discover his true motivation.
Even though he is clearly a self-absorbed, narcissist, pseudo-bully, Guy finds himself forging an unlikely alliance with one of his competitors, an awkward 10-year old of Indian descent named Chaitanya, (Chand) who appears to be completely unfazed by Guy’s take-no-prisoners approach to life. Soon, Guy and Chaitanya are tearing up the place and becoming closer pals than either of them intended. Meanwhile Jenny is attempting to crack Guy’s harsh exterior shell as she both tries to get to know him better as well know more about him. Needless to say, what she eventually discovers sis both shocking and astounding to her.
This is a very funny, scatologicaly-laced film as guy is not shy about telling the people around him precisely what he thinks of them, and as both a proofreader and spelling bee cham he know quite a few choice words as well as how to use them to best elicit the specific response that he is attempting to engineer. Yeah, this film is pretty raw, and is not so much a send-up of Spelling bees (as was Little Miss Sunshine towards junior miss beauty pageants) as it is simply leveraging spelling bees for Bateman to deliver yet another stellar performance and give us all a well-deserved laugh.
There is clearly more to this tale than we see at first blush, but as it is well written, and everyone in the cast delivers fine performances, we are all just totally amazed as to how well the entire operation comes off. So if your sense of humor is slightly askew, and you are not easily offended by rough language, you will be sure to enjoy this very entertaining film. __________
Robert J. Sodaro has been reviewing films for some 30 years. During that time, his movie reviews and articles have appeared in numerous print publications, as well as on the web. Subscribe to receive regular articles and movie reviews.