Hick: Movie Review

Hick_film_posterHick is a drama adapted from a book of the same name written by Andrea Portes. It premiered in the Toronto Film Festival in 2011 to mixed reviews from critics and moviegoers alike but despite the fact that its a bit on the dark side, I kind of liked it.

Having had enough of her parents’ dysfunctional relationship and constant drinking, 13 year old Luli (Chloe Mortez) decides to leave her small town roots behind to find her fortune in the bright lights of Las Vegas. But despite her street smarts and determination, Luli finds that life on the road for a lone young woman is not easy. As she comes across a violent drifter Eddie (Eddie Redmayne), a beautiful con woman Glenda (Blake Lively) and other characters in her journey, she is initiated into the harsh realities of the world as she finds herself entangled in their twisted relationships.

Despite the bad reviews, I thought Hick was a good movie mainly because of the strong cast that gave life to the characters. Chloe Moretz was very credible playing the tough and disillusioned thirteen year old, whose innocence was shattered by her experiences with her family, her hopefulness for a better life away from her small town, away from her uncaring parents and her resilience despite getting in trouble more than once. Eddie Redmayne was also very convincing as the equal parts dangerous and vulnerable drifter dealing with issues of his own. Blake Lively also pulled her own weight as a desperate woman left with no choice but to  sell herself to a wealthy businessman to survive.

I think what sold the movie was the fact that it was grounded on reality and that it could happen to anyone — in any part of the world. Considering all things, the movie was actually sanitized compared to the book (based on what I researched). The story also had a certain grittiness to it that affects the senses of the audience that makes them think about how they would fare in situations similar to the characters.

The movie did not need lengthy dialogue to drive the point home. Just the fact that Luli was a 13 year old girl exposed to characters like Glenda and Eddie was enough to worry about her and pray for her safety. All in all, I thought Hick was a well executed drama that was a perfect reflection of innocence and guile, of goodness and evil and everything in between. It is a film that speaks volumes about reality and the harsh truths that go with it.

Friends with Benefits: A RomCom Review

There are several reasons to watch Friends with Benefits. One: Mila Kunis is hot. Two: Mila Kunis is frickin’ awesome and three: Yeah, there is also Justin Timberlake. There is also a great parade of the cameos throughout the movie and a great many exchange of funny one-liners. In its own right, Friends with Benefits is not an extraordinary masterpiece, but it is funny, and it is entertaining, and it achieves its objective of providing a 109-minute diversion from reality that audiences shell out money to see in the cinemas.

FWB stars Justin Timberlake as Dylan, a yuppie from LA who runs a popular blogsite. Mila Kunis takes on the role of Jamie, the charming and fun loving headhunter who invites Dylan to New York to interview for a position at GQ magazine. Both are great at their jobs and ultra successful in their careers but they share a similar fate in their personal lives because of their “emotional dysfunctions.” When Dylan decides to take the job, he becomes fast friends with Jamie, whom he clicks with on all levels. They have similar backgrounds, family issues, relationship issues. They get along really nicely and see eye to eye on most things. Being both out of relationships, they agree to have sex without emotional attachments and stay buddies in the process. This is where the situation starts to get hairy.

What really sells the movie, despite the generic plotline (No Strings Attached was released earlier in the year starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, which shares a similar story) is the obvious chemistry between the two lead actors. It was obvious that Kunis and Timberlake were very comfortable with each other thus making their comedic sex scenes effective instead of awkward. Their chemistry also extended to the scenes where they hang out. Their banter just appeared so natural. I liked that they effectively portrayed the shift in their relationship from friendships, to FWB and later on to girlfriend/boyfriend seamlessly without trying too hard. Timberlake’s character was a bit of an a*sh*le in some parts of the movie but somebody has to be the  idiot who comes to a realization in these types of movies, right?

JUST FRIENDS? Jamie and Dylan discuss the benefits of having sex while staying friends.

The story is not rocket science. It does not go the high road, overanalyzing relationships and sprouting a bunch of colorful dialogue that sounds really good but are quite unrealistic. Rather, it shows two flawed characters who try to get back up after each failed attempt at a relationship, realize their mistakes and learn to move forward because of each other’s support.

One really doesn’t expect a lot from watching a chick flick. Just entertainment and the occasional drama that comes towards the end of the movie around 10 minutes before the credits roll (this one did not miss out). I don’t think Friends with Benefits will be winning any acting awards for the leads anytime soon, nor will it be written down in history as one of the greatest romantic comedies ever released. But with its appealing stars, witty dialogue, and generally funky atmosphere, its a great movie to watch with friends in the cinema or on DVD. Please pass the popcorn :-)