Tiny’s Streaming Saturday: The Vicious Kind (2009)

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If you are a fan of Adam Scott you should really see The Vicious Kind. He gives a performance unlike anything he’s done before. Most of you probably think of his hilarious turn in Step Brothers, or as the lovable Ben Wyatt on Parks and Recreation. I love him in those roles as well, but I think his talent had never been put on full display until this film.

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The Vicious Kind is a story about love. God, that’s a cheesy sentence; please bear with me. I’m not talking about fairy-tale, Nicholas Sparks crap here. It’s more Sid and Nancy than …. whatever the two characters were named in The Notebook (I’m not totally crapping on that movie; it’s actually a decent flick). The movie is about a man (played by Scott) who has been emotionally destroyed by his past relationships. He tries to warn his younger brother about the nature of women when he brings home his new girlfriend for Thanksgiving, but ends up becoming infatuated with her along the way.

The film has a sort of Shakespearian theme to it. Adam Scott’s character (named Caleb) has not spoken to his father in eight years and then he falls in love with his younger brother’s girlfriend. It’s riddled with dark family dysfunction. Caleb also suffers from insomnia, which causes him to sort of zone out and go through wild mood swings. I wouldn’t think a character trait like that would be very enjoyable, but it gives him such an intriguing intensity. Adam Scott seemed so committed to the character’s flaws. He blew me away.

One scene in particular involved Caleb running into his brother’s girlfriend unexpectedly at the grocery store. In the scene he confronts her about not hurting his brother; that’s putting it lightly. The two characters are having a normal pleasant conversation and Caleb just loses it. He pushes her up against a shelf, puts his hand over her mouth and assaults her with warnings. It was such a great scene. Scott’s vigorous performance actually scared me a little. He was so convincing.

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I’ve been focusing on Adam Scott a bit too much. There were some other great performances in the film. I had never been overly impressed with Brittany Snow before. I don’t think she had ever really been given much of an opportunity to spread her acting wings. She was very captivating in this film. She held her own in scenes with some impressive actors. The scene I mentioned before, when she is attacked by Caleb, was some stellar work on her part. A lesser actress would have frozen up. She gave such a natural feel to her character. I was really impressed. I think part of her intrigue was her beauty. I always found her very attractive in other movies, but she was absolutely stunning in this film, which is mentioned several times. Her beauty made the character that much easier to fall in love with. I really look forward to her taking more roles like this in the future.

Lastly, the always captivating J.K. Simmons plays Adam Scott and Alex Frost’s father. J.K. Simmons is the quintessential “dad” actor. Juno, I Love You, Man, The Music Never Stopped; the guy just plays a dad perfectly. He even played a father as a psychotic, Aryan racist in Oz. I don’t want to reduce the guy’s talents to one aspect, but I just thought it was worth mentioning. As always, he was delightful. His character was a nice blend of comedy and drama.

The Vicious Kind is an easy movie to connect to. All of us have family issues and frustrations that we have to go through. This film explores those issues and adds in deep and complicated characters. The characters aren’t very good people; they can be difficult to sympathize with, but they will keep you hooked and entertained for the entirety of the film. So if you’re in the mood for some laughs and some tears give this movie a shot. I doubt you’ll regret it.

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OBSESSIVE NOTE: You can read more of Tiny’s obsessive thoughts here. You can also follow him on Twitter @ObsessiveTiny and catch him on The Obsessive Viewer Podcast. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook.

– Matt (@ObsessiveViewer)

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One response to “Tiny’s Streaming Saturday: The Vicious Kind (2009)

  1. I’m glad you reviewed this little gem. I watched it one time and surprisingly, it really effected me. It was funny, dark, a bit emotional and wholly compelling, giving me everything I needed to know about these characters in one fell-swoop. Good review.

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