APRIL 4, 2013 SCREENING: HICK (2011)
Like the previous film I reviewed, Hick takes another rising young child star (in this case, Chloe Grace Moretz) and gives her the first role of her career where she transition from child star to adult star. She gets to do a lot in the movie that quite frankly shocked a lot of critics, particularly because they were used to her playing innocent characters and here she uses some pretty colorful language and has some pretty risque scenes for a 13 year old. Moretz’s performance is good, and demonstrates the versatility of her acting abilities However, in other respects, its the opposite of the last film I reviewed. Push (2009) was at heart a good movie that inexplicably turned out to be bad in spite of everything it had going for it. On the other hand, Hick is a bad movie, seemingly made up of bits and pieces of good movies.
Yes, Hick is a mediocre movie at best, and none of its characters or situations will leave much impact on you, or any lasting legacy on film. There is an interesting side effect to watching the movie though, and its that Hick will evoke numerous scenes from other, better movies. I must have thought “Gee, this reminds me of so-and-so” over a half dozen times while watching Hick. I doubt this is an intentional effort from the filmmakers to “rip off” earlier movies, it just seems they had a number of good ideas that had been done before, and might have worked here, except they were done poorly. At various times, memories of Lawn Dogs (1997), The Professional (1994), Tideland (2005), Hound dog (2007), Lolita (both the 1962 and 1997 versions!), Black Snake Moan (2006), The Ice Storm (1997), and Badlands (1973) came to mind. There are even more examples that escape me at the moment. It was like someone took me on a tour of “greatest hits” from those movies and tried to re-enact several iconic scenes with new actors and dialogue, producing a far inferior version.
What most of the above films have in common is a basic premise of “underage girl behaving scandalously”, which is perhaps why many of the critics have said that “pedophiles” would enjoy the film Hick. I honestly don’t think anyone will enjoy the film Hick, because while there is the element of Chloe Grace Moretz dressing seductively and acting provocatively for some weird perverts, its not really aimed at the viewer, and the difference between this movie and a film like Lolita or Tideland is that she has zero chemistry with her adult co-star. In this case, its some cowboy hat wearing creep in a pickup that keeps showing up in her over and over again (and again makes me think of similar characters in good movies like Lolita, Pretty Baby, Taxi Driver, etc.), but here the situation goes nowhere and you’ll be hard pressed to remember anything the two characters discussed in the movie. There’s also a “graphic rape scene”, perhaps apeing what happened earlier in Dakota Fanning’s own heavily criticized “Hound dog” (where her 12 year old character is brutally raped), but the “rape scene” here occurs completely off camera, and a far more dramatic scene occurs earlier when Moretz’s character is nearly raped in a bathroom stall. In either case, neither scene seems to have any consequences for later in the movie, or the overall storyline.
The one positive here is that although the movie is called “Hick”, its not about exploiting backwoods country bumpkins for laughs, and although none of the characters are likeable or interesting, they”re all tolerable and believable enough. There’s even one actor I can’t stand (namely, Alec Baldwin) who makes a decent appearance towards the end of the movie. Like all the other scenes, its of little consequence, but Baldwin’s brief scenes are basically a glorified cameo and kept my interest long enough. I’ll rate that as a positive for this film – since I usually want to break my TV whenever Baldwin comes on screen, regardless of what role he’s playing.
Moretz really showed off a dramatically different side to her in this movie. Too bad she was stuck with a worthless script, and a movie that does nothing and goes nowhere. If you want to reminisce about earlier, better movies, then Hick is an interesting experiment to jog your memories. If not, you’ll be wasting two hours of your life.
* ½ out of ****