You have two choices: focus on what’s insufficient in Becky or praise what the production miraculously pulls off. I would rather lean more towards the latter than the former. Sure, there are details in Becky that I wish had more time to breathe. On the other hand, the film is very entertaining, and it’s a career high for one of its actors.
Becky is a home invasion thriller, featuring a family’s tense weekend becoming deadly courtesy of some escaped convicts led by a militant Neo-Nazi named Dominick. That kingpin is played by Kevin James, a Happy Madison staple who has made a living playing inoffensive nice guys. Becky doesn’t give James a lot of character work to chew on but, boy, does he commit to the transformation. It’s almost as if he was inspired by Adam Sandler’s award-winning dramatic turn in last year’s Uncut Gems. The two performances are different though. Uncut Gems aside, there’s been a past record of observant directors knowing how to channel Sandler’s charisma into different roles. James’ performance in Becky, which marks his first experiment as a performer, is the epitome of a challenge; proving that he’s willing to cut all ties with his comfort zone to connect more to an unlikeable character. It’s actually, kind of remarkable.
Based on that achievement alone, Becky is worth remembering. But, the movie also earns its memorability through a revenge plot with inventive kills that will have you laughing through your gasps.
While the film’s story isn’t as tight as it could be, leaving primary desires to be more murky than motivated, it’s outrageous entertainment fuelled by unapologetic angst by its title character (played by Lulu Wilson). When Dominick starts targeting her family to get the possession he’s hellbent on finding, Becky strategizes ways to trim down his army of goons; eventually making her way to him. The kills are creative, to say the least, and don’t shy away from over-the-top results. Directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, the weirdos who made the delightfully warped horror/comedy Cooties, deliver yet again.
With theatres still undergoing a lockdown due to this year’s pandemic, newly opened drive-ins are hastily looking for content to screen. I would happily nominate Becky as a summertime selection, a film that seems to have been tailor-made for the late night crowd.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie