After spectacularly losing a local spelling bee as a youngster, the now 40-year-old Guy Trilby is determined to go back and change it. Having developed his spelling ability substantially over the decades, he decides to enter the National Quill Spelling Bee after discovering a loophole which states that anyone past the 8th grade cannot compete. Having given up on academic achievement before he passed 8th grade, the contest's judges struggle to deny him the opportunity to compete despite arrant fury from parents of potential winners who believe that his age now gives him an advantage. Initially rude and insulting towards his pre-pubescent competitors, he soon starts to develop a friendship with Chaitainya; an enthusiastic young boy with no friends who Guy takes under his wing. However, not everyone's happy with what Guy ends up teaching Chaitainya about the world.
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Guy Trilby is a 40-year-old man who dropped out of high school as a young boy and remains bitter about losing a spelling bee. Thus, now older and wiser, he finds a way to enter the National Quill Spelling Bee by abusing a loophole which states that anyone past the 8th grade cannot compete. As he abandoned his studies before passing 8th grade, he decides that he has every right to qualify for the competition, to the annoyance of entrants' parents and contest officials alike as, of course, his age gives him an unfair advantage despite his educational failures. Along the way he meets a young boy named Chaitainya who appears to have no friends his own age and who Guy Trilby gladly takes under his debauched, f-word riddled wing.
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Jon Favreau claims partial responsibility (as co-screenwriter) for this stumbling mess, a film that could've used dark humor and the luxury of retrospect to comment on the freakish habits of our late 1990s Internet culture. (The script, in theory at least, is based on Po Bronson's novel.) Instead, Favreau, screenwriter Gary Tieche (creator of TV's MDs), and director Mick Jackson (L.A. Story) play it as safe, as slow, and as vanilla as possible.
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There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.
After spectacularly losing a local spelling bee as a youngster, the now 40-year-old Guy Trilby...