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Wick's Review

Created Aug 26, 2022 07:17AM PST • Edited Jan 16, 2023 07:13PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Good 3.0

    Vengeance isn’t original. Hell, it’s the eighth movie titled Vengeance. Nor is it LOL funny, other than maybe that bit about Texas football. But it is interesting and of-the-moment and almost kind-hearted. That’s enough to make an expensive trip to the multiplex worthwhile. B. J. Novak’s passion project is therefore a success in today’s downtrodden entertainment world. We can even forgive his Leftist delusions.

    The blue-red divide in 2022 America is the denatured subtext of this extended fish-out-of-water set-piece. Basically, a tribune of Blue America forays into Red America in search of irony. That’s the clear intent of Novak’s reporting from his long strange trip to Texas back to his blog editor in Brooklyn. At least he has the grace to lampoon his socioeconomic strata as much as he does the common folk of middle America.

    That starts with skewering the hook-up culture amongst young professionals in Gotham, where men are never expected to commit and therefore grow-up. It extends to him acknowledging his discomfort with real human emotion, especially of the family variety. Blue collar Texans get gently ribbed also, often amusingly.

    Donald Trump’s name never gets invoked, but his spirit hovers offscreen. Novak’s Harvard man perceives himself as worldly, yet doesn’t understand a thing about the mores of fellow Americans who live outside his cushy milieu, including why they are family centered. He almost accuses them of being Trump voters, yet wisely pulls that punch. But we know where he’s coming from. The surprise is where he ends up.

  3. Very Good 3.5

    B. J. Novak channels B.J. Novak as the euphonically named Ben Manalowitz. Say it out loud! A little Novak goes a long way, but he somehow manages to not overstay his welcome here.

    • Boyd Holbrook means well but tries too hard.
    • Dove Cameron jumps offscreen as a sassy jailbait.
    • Issa Rae has a model’s face and a middle-brow sophisticate’s demeanor.
    • Ashton Kutcher underwhelms as a man-about-Texas.
    • J. Smith-Cameron overachieves, per usual.
  4. Male Stars Very Good 3.5
  5. Female Stars Very Good 3.5
  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars OK 2.5
  8. Good 3.0

    Written, directed and starring B.J. Novak: This rookie auteur deserves another turn given this solid result.

  9. Direction Very Good 3.5
  10. Play Good 3.0
  11. Music Good 3.0
  12. Visuals Very Good 3.5
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.1
  15. Sex Titillating 1.7
  16. Violence Fierce 2.1
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.5
  18. Glib 1.5
  19. Circumstantial Glib 2.0
  20. Biological Glib 1.5
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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