Saturday, September 10, 2011
Lee Toland Krieger - "The Vicious Kind"
"You know they are all whores," we are informed at the beginning of Lee Toland Krieger's "The Vicious Kind" by unkempt misogynist Caleb (Adam "are-we-having-fun-yet?" Scott). Reeling from a bad break-up (as opposed to all those good ones constantly being reported), Caleb is trying to prevent his sweet, oddly-inexperienced brother Peter (Alex Frost) from getting his heart eventually broken by new, seemingly-ideal girlfriend Emma (Brittany Snow). He does so with the kind of proselytizing anger that transforms into prophecy: soon enough, Caleb is falling for Emma, and she's kind of going for it (whore!). Emma is the cue ball that makes Caleb, Peter and their dad Donald (J. K. Simmons) collide during one of those Thanksgiving weekends in which dark comedies loved to trap their dysfunctional families last decade (Ok, I'm only thinking "Pieces of April" but somehow I feel there was a veritable sub-genre of these.)
You watch the movie for Scott. He was always great at expressing contempt in "Party Down", but there his contempt was of the bemused variety, and included himself in its survey. In "The Vicious Kind" he's ANGRY and UNLIKABLE, and he spews out all that until he's so exhausted that he reveals the hurt from which it all originates. It's awesome (if you're in the mood for it.) There's not much more to the movie, unfortunately (although J. K. Simmons is typically superb.) We know Caleb is gonna go for his brother's girl, we know she'll love his acidic asshole behavior with the sexual inevitability of movies, and we know family lessons will be learned in the end.