Review: Ultraviolent 'Becky' shows teenager battling against neo-Nazi's
Courtesy of Quiver Distribution
Much like his Happy-Madison colleague Adam Sandler did last year with “Uncut Gems,” comedian Kevin James is breaking the mold by tackling a much darker unsympathetic character in “Becky.” Though the film isn’t about his villainous presence, James’s transformation into a Neo-Nazi will be the conversation around the film because everyone knows the comic from “The King of Queens” and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.” Instead, “Becky” is a frantic, hyperkinetic vehicle for “Sharp Objects” breakout Lulu Wilson who plays the titular character set to wreak havoc on a group of fugitives who have come to her home turf looking for a key that leads to riches.
It’s a demented spin on the “Home Alone” formula with Wilson’s Becky the Kevin McCallister in this instance. Wilson, who is 14, has the pose and composure of the most veteren performers on the screen today. Her Becky could make Chole Grace-Moretz’s Hit Girl from “Kick-Ass” smile in that her range and dexterity proves futile for any unsuspecting soul who dares to make the young teenager angry.
Then again, Becky was angry from the beginning. Her mother died the year before and at the start of the film her dad (Joel McHale from “Community”) is taking her for a weekend getaway to help acclimate her to his fiancée. Of course, being a teenager in that mindset, the last thing you want is a new girl sniffing around your dad and naturally, she retreats to her treehouse of solitude. And boy is she pissed.
So with all the family drama foundation laid: enter the skinheads, headed by James, whose neo-Nazi ideology is the basis for his cruelty. James - sporting a thick beard - takes the family hostage with the help of his prison cronies. He’s spent years dreaming up this day (as he details often) and his intelligence never foresaw a teenager with anger issues.
Granted, Becky could just run to the neighbors house and alert the police but the film - directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion - comes up with clever and ingenious motives for her to stick around and her methods of killing the gang members one-by-one without weapons becomes the film’s main selling point. I can’t say for certain if I’ve ever seen someone get maimed and/or mutilated with a ruler on camera before, but it goes to show that “Becky” - the movie and the character - aren’t messing around.
What helps the light screenplay by Nick Morris, Ruckus Skye, and Lane Skye is that it does take time to explore Becky’s internal struggles. We understand there’s a reason for all this pent up frustration, it just took this home invasion to bring it out of her. “Becky” provides a solid role for Wilson who continues to prove her career choices aren’t a fluke, and she plays the part well in contrast to James who deserves credit for trying something new, despite the struggle to see past his comedic roots.
The violence is bloody and gruesome and not for those with weak stomachs (at one point someone's eyeball dangles out of their head) but I’d be lying if I said the demise of white supremacists in an unholy and sadistic manner didn’t bring joy to my face. That’s just good family fun, no matter the context.
BECKY will be available to rent from various digital platforms starting Friday June 5th.