THE VICIOUS KIND || Strong comedic actors and dramatic performances appear to go hand in hand. Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, and lately Robin Williams are great examples with Punch Drunk Love, Stranger Than Fiction, and World‘s Greatest Dad under their respected belts. However, one does not get used to comedians taking on many of these roles. When they do, however, cultism forms around the performances that result. Adam Scott can now be added to that illustrious list.
Let me begin by stating that The Vicious Kind did not allure me in the art department. The cover art is a faded brown with no remarkable points of interest. The description on the back makes the film sound just as drab as the cover does. Here is how I would describe the Vicious Kind on the back of the cover:
Adam Scott enters the role of his career as Caleb, a troubled brother and product of a broken home. When Caleb’s brother Peter (Alex Frost) brings his new college girlfriend Emma (Brittany Snow) home for Thanksgiving, Caleb discovers a completely new side to himself. Through his cynicism, Caleb faces his ex-girlfriend, his estranged father (J.K. Simmons), and his own darkness, face first. Finding himself more and more attracted to the new confidence that Emma gives, Caleb must decide if acting on his feelings for Emma is worth devastating his mild mannered brother.
In the heartfelt and comedic writing, Adam Scott’s bedrock cockiness of his previous roles is combined with a depth unlike any performance he has dished out in recent memory. Having won me over by the car ride home, every time he graced the screen (which is most of the film) was a pleasure. His comedic timing and delivery is all his own and is what makes his part, and ultimately the film, stand out.
Brittany Snow is adorable in her role as Emma, the girlfriend. Her innocence and naivety prove heartwarming and authentic. Though most women eventually have to meet their boyfriend’s family, Snow’s performance was extraordinarily convincing. Her reactions to Caleb especially are what takes her performance to the next level.
The Vicious Kind is a peerless venture shrouded in, literally, lusterless packaging. The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” becomes quite literal here as well. As the winner of several awards including best actor for Adam Scott, best director for Lee Toland Krieger, and best feature, the film becomes more than just another dark comedy, but a platform for hoisting those award winners up and allowing the world to notice the finesse they bring to the screen.
[Directed by Lee Toland Krieger] [R] [92 mins] [11 December 2009]