Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Guy Trilby is not a likeable fella. He doesn't deal in common sense. And he couldn't care less what you think of him.

It's a bad combination for a bad movie.

The fact that most parents would (and do) sneer at the idea of a 40-year-old man competing in a kids' spelling bee doesn't faze him in the slightest. And since the rules state that competitors can't have passed the 8th grade, he's quick to point out that he hasn't. This junior high dropout turned proofreader for product warranties may not have a lot going for him, but he's a genius at spelling, and he's determined to win the national bee whether the world likes it or not.

Local reporter Jenny Widgeon thinks there's a story in Guy's efforts. The dude's foulmouthed and nonchalantly offensive, but that'll just add texture to the tale. And once Jenny pries the real reason he's competing out of him, she's sure it'll make for a top-shelf article. Hey, that's why she's even agreed to sponsor his run for the big spelling trophy.

Truthfully though, Guy Trilby doesn't care a whit about Jenny's story. He doesn't care that his participation is febrifacient for the spelling bee officials. Nor is he concerned that everyone at the event questions his honorificabilitudinity. Because he can easily spell both of those sesquipedalian words and, besides, keeping everybody off balance works in his favor. He'll do what he has to to freak out the kids, royally offend the adults and win the prize.

And then he'll get what he really wants: r-e-v-e-n-g-e!

Positive Elements

A young Indian boy named Chaitainya Chopra tries to befriend Guy and is foully rebuffed for his efforts (several times). But eventually the two find some common ground—though their interactions oftentimes head down crude, inappropriate pathways. (How's that for a puny kernel of positivity wrapped up in loads of loathsomeness?) Oh, and Guy eventually realizes that his planned revenge is unnecessary and pulls the punch.

Spiritual Content

Jokes are made about "praying to Mecca" and "slaughtering" someone like a "sacred cow."

Sexual Content

Crude, nasty and noxious sexual quips are aimed at adults and kids alike, ranging from comments about gay and lesbian sex acts to oral sex to child rape to auto-fellatio to accusations of adultery to the size and shape of a mother's aging genitalia.

We see Guy and his girl (Jenny) having sex together on several occasions. These scenes are sometimes played for laughs, usually protracted and designed to be as realistic-looking as possible. (The pair is either partially dressed or covered by a translucent shower curtain.)

While out on the town with Chaitainya, Guy makes arrangements for a very large-breasted prostitute to expose herself to the boy. As the 10-year-old gazes lustfully at the woman, the camera also closely ogles her breasts. Guy buys a pornographic magazine for his young friend, too, and we see naked women in its pages.

Violent Content

Chaitainya hits an elderly man in the face with a chair, leaving a small gash. An angry parent smashes a car window with a folding chair. Guy is kicked in the crotch by a kid.

Crude or Profane Language

More than 20 f-words and about a dozen s-words. Multiple uses of "b‑‑tard," "b‑‑ch," "d‑‑n," "h‑‑‑" and "a‑‑" (all words we've chosen not to spell correctly here). Jesus' and God's names are misused seven or eight times total (with God's getting combined with "d‑‑n" about half the time). Guy is constantly spewing out a steady stream of rude-to-obscene references to male and female body parts. He flips his middle finger on several occasions.

Then, to make matters worse, Guy actively encourages young Chaitainya to follow his foul example. And by picture's end, the kid does just that—spitting out much of the same crude and profane language.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Guy goes into Chaitainya's hotel room and drinks all the booze from his mini-fridge—passing out soon after. He takes Chaitainya on an all-night club romp, passing the boy glasses of booze as he hides under the bar. Guy and Jenny down mixed drinks at a poolside bar. Jenny and a federal agent drink wine. She smokes a cigarette. A boy imagines his mom smoking with a man after sex.

Other Negative Elements

The director of the spelling bee cheats by pulling up extra difficult words to try to eliminate Guy. Guy takes steps to throw the contest. (It's not for himself, though, and that's supposed to counterbalance his dishonest and manipulative actions.) He uses a packet of ketchup to torment a young girl contestant about her menstrual flow. He spits racist humor at Chaitainya, calling him a "slumdog," telling him to "shut your curry hole" and making jokes about him being a terrorist.

After being put in a hotel room without a toilet, Guy plops a plastic bag full of feces on the facility's front counter. Guy and Chaitainya set up a trap in a bathroom that results in a lobster clamping down on and dangling from a man's testicles.


When a comedy wields an obvious double entendre of a title and features a movie poster that's a close-up of someone dropping an f-bomb, well, you get a pretty good idea of what kind of movie it's gonna be. So, let me simply spell out what you've probably already guessed:

Jason Bateman's directorial debut, Bad Words, is yet another raw, misanthropic low-comedy spitball. What Little Miss Sunshine did for adolescent beauty pageants and Bad Santa did for a certain jolly old elf and Jacka‑‑ Presents: Bad Grandpa did for octogenarians, this pic does for kids' spelling bees

There are scant few truly funny moments, with only a few hints surviving long enough to show what kind of goofily endearing movie this could have been if it had studied up on social graces. But … it didn't. And so viewers are left with scene after scene after scene of a young boy being encouraged to romp through cringe-worthy and incredibly inappropriate (developmentally damaging) escapades, and an adult who veers from racist rants to pornographic antics to terrorizing a young girl about her menstrual cycle.

This flick may not be as scary as suffering from defecaloesiophobia or as painful as pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, but it comes close on both counts.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range





Jason Bateman as Guy Trilby; Kathryn Hahn as Jenny Widgeon; Rohan Chand as Chaitainya Chopra; Allison Janney as Dr. Bernice Deagan; Philip Baker Hall as Dr. Bowen


Jason Bateman ( )


Focus Features



Record Label



In Theaters

March 14, 2014

On Video

July 8, 2014

Year Published



Bob Hoose

Content Caution

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!