The Vicious Kind Reviews
I'm not really sure of the movie's premise - the only way Caleb knows how to protect is brother is by hurting him and that's why he sleeps with his brother's girlfriend...? The motifs of desperate need and succumbing to attraction because of the other person's attraction to you are all interesting, but the ending shows no real aftermath of that behavior.
Adam Scott's performance in this deftly constructed family drama is everything I've heard it was and more. His crying scenes are as convincing as his most vicious outbursts, and Scott conveys an emotional truth that is rarely seen but always enjoyed. In many dramas we see characters say nasty things to each other, and not seconds later, they either apologize or give that regretting look, which is supposed to convey to the audience that even though this character just did something we should disapprove of, we should still like him/her. It's false and performative, but I've learned to put up with it. When the script calls for such moments, Scott's strength is he makes such moments work, incorporating them into the manically depressive nature of Caleb; other times, Scott doesn't care if we don't like Caleb.
Brittany Snow manages to be both alluring, vulnerable, and strong, while Alex Frost is perfectly douchey. And who knew that J.K. Simmons could handle drama with such emotional range and dexterity?
The script starts off very well. The ways in which information is hinted at and slowly revealed are quite deftly carried, and most of the characters are finely drawn. However, by the end of the film, there were a few bits so ridiculous that writer/director Lee Toland Krieger deliberately aimed for laughs in the most awkward places. Also, the film's penultimate moment was so subtle that it slipped into obscurity. The last ninety minutes were leading up to this moment, but we don't know enough about what goes through the character's head to get a fair idea of what happens in these characters' lives after the film has ended. The smile, if it is a smile, is too enigmatic to hinge the entire film on.
Overall, this is an excellent film with just a few minor flaws and what should be a star-making performance by Adam Scott
DIRECTED BY: Lee Toland Krieger
SUMMARY: Caleb Sinclaire is a bitter construction worker whose life is turned upside down one Thanksgiving weekend. Estranged from his family, Caleb lives an isolated, but contented, life. Following a difficult breakup, he becomes scornful toward women and wears his disdain as a badge of honor. Caleb's resolve is tested, however, when he meets his younger brother Peter's new girlfriend, Emma. Immediately distrustful of her, Caleb warns Peter that she will only end up hurting him. Despite his efforts to protect his brother, he finds himself drawn to Emma and surprised by his growing attraction. Caleb's unexpected feelings force him finally to confront the vulnerability he has struggled so long to conceal.
MY THOUGTHS: I love these types of dark comedies. I am just drawn to them. I've found that you find really good acting in independent movies, that's why I like them the best. They always have great stories and good acting. This was a bit of a complicated story and I also found it to be a bit sad. Loved Adam Scott in this, he really gives a great performance in this film. His charater Caleb is very twisted in a sense cause of his dark humor. But he's also just a sad individual who's been wronged by the one's he cared the most about. He has this inner torment of good vs. evil and seems to be struggling with that. I happened to like his smart-ass attitude and found it funny. Brittany Snow was also good in this and I liked her darker look. J.K. Simmons was great as always and had some great one liners. If you like films that are more about the story and the characters, then you will like this one.
Caleb: I'm gonna be honest with you. No.
Adam Scott is an actor I've come to enjoy seeing on screen. His two types of roles differ between being a smug, snarky but likable guy and a huge dick. In Step Brothers for example, he's a huge dick, while in the amazing, but little known TV series Party Down, he's the likable, but somewhat snarky loser type character. In this film, he plays an insomnia suffering, confused, dickish guy, who is somehow an entertaining protagonist.
Scott stars as Caleb, a bitter guy living an isolated life back home, away from his father, played by J.K. Simmons. He has recently been cheated on by his girlfriend and is now tasked with giving a ride to his brother Peter and his new girlfriend, played by Brittany Snow, to their father's house for Thanksgiving. Trying to protect his brother, Caleb tries to dissuade him from dating Emma, who he is suspicious of, but is also strangely drawn to her.
J.T.: You alright Caleb? I've never seen you throw a hammer like that.
Its a weird but simple structure for this darkly comedic indie drama, but the fact that the actors seem to get what they are working with helps. Its a tough and confusing role that Scott is given, but he delivers pretty well here. J.K. Simmons has pretty much elevated to my list of supporting actors I'll always enjoy, so that's enough for me there. The butt of the film is the character of Peter, played by Alex Frost, who pretty much goes through the film not knowing any of the drama in any of the other characters lives.
By the end, this film has come out in a quirky way to show off some interesting characters.
Emma: I think you owe me an explanation.
Caleb: I don't think you understand how awkward this is.
Only after seeing her can he get some sleep; an insomniac, he seems to be hurtling toward self-destruction, saying awful things and then apologizes for them sincerely. He gets into fights and treats people like dirt. Caleb is the lovable anti-hero and we find ourselves, against our better judgment, rooting for him and sympathizing with his spiraling depression as he's dealing with a heartbreaking break up and having to be reminded of it based on the fact that his younger brother's girlfriend looks so much like his two timing ex. Veteran actor J.K. Simmons puts a great performance as the father who has issues of his own and Brittany Snow is brilliant as the confused Emma who perfectly illustrates that women are attracted to 'bad boys' and not wimps.