Published on March 21st, 2014 | by gareth0
Guy Trilby (Jason Bateman) is a man with some issues. At 40 he works away as a proofreader in his small Ohio community and has little going for himself in the way of friends, career, or a social life.
Guy decides to enter into spelling competitions using the loophole that since he never completed the 8th grade, he is still eligible to compete under the bylaws of competition.
Needless to say this does not make him a well-liked person especially when he dominates the competition and wins entry to compete in a nationally televised competition.
To say that the surly Triby is the worst nightmare come true for the competition would be an understatement but despite their best efforts to keep him out and place him at a disadvantage, Guy dominates the competition with a mix of psych out tactics, mind games, and a very well-defined knowledge of spelling.
A journalist named Jenny (Kathryn Hahn), attempts to get Guy to reveal his true reasons for entering the competition but despite the fact that her outlet is sponsoring guy and covering his expenses, he remains largely tight lipped about his reasons and continues to deploy all manner of underhanded tactics to get inside the heads of his much younger competition.
A young Indian prodigy named Chaitanya (Rohan Chad), starts to bond with Guy who despite his best efforts becomes fond of the boy and sees a kindred spirit in the child despite being forced to compete against one another.
As the competition heats up, Guy and his new friend bond which causes Guy to question many aspects of his life all of which results in a funny yet poignant journey.
Jason Bateman is making his directorial debut with the film and does a solid job. While I had expected the film to play much more to the bawdy humor and Guy’s methods to undermine his younger foes, the film actually plays out more as a drama with comedy elements.
The film is not one that is going to light up the numbers at the box office and I would not be surprised if it is largely ignored in favor of the more glamorous films that are opening against it. That being said, the film is a solid and enjoyable story and I believe that when audiences discover it, likely on DVD and Netflix they will come to appreciate the film and the creative team behind it.
As it stands, a very good premise that at times struggles with its identity, but delivers when it counts.
3.5 out of 5