Laugh-out-loud funny doesn’t begin to capture the perverse humor that director/leading man Jason Bateman plops onto the screen.
Personally, I love to spend time with really smart kids. However, Bateman, playing Guy Trilby, pulls the rug out from under his version of Spelling Bee brainiacs in ways that border on child abuse. But no harm is done except to send up obnoxious and pushy parents plus the competition director, Dr. Deagan, played by Alison Janney, who brings new meaning to phrase ‘prune face.”
Bateman, acting since a kid, knows his way around a set and particularly how to work with actors. He sails through his feature film debut with zany wit and assurance and expands his sardonic comic chops in the process.
Screenwriter Andrew Dodge delivers a well-crafted black comedy that is a welcome addition to contemporary film humor for grownups. My other gold star goes to the recent AMERICAN HUSTLE.
Playing opposite Bateman is a 10-year-old ball of sunshine, New York born Indian actor Rohan Chand. This kid can’t stop sparkling, even under the most adversarial situations tossed at him by Bateman. I wanted to love him and smack him at the same time. An example? As the lad leans over the top of his airplane seat and endlessly pesters Guy, the audience exploded with laughter when Trilby blurts, “ Hey kid, shut up, turn your curry hole around and sit.”
The burning question is why does 40 year-old Guy Trilby enter a nationally televised competition limited to kids who have not yet graduated from the 5th grade? All unravels in the final frames, and, while seemingly an author derived dénouement, the ‘get-even’ revelation works just fine in this high-spirited comedy.
Take a break and look forward to some delightfully spiteful giggles.