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While parents were taking their kids to see “Super Pets” and listening to the voices of Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, we chose the darker, esoteric “Vengeance,” starring B.J. Novak as Ben Manalowitz, a New York journalist who decides to spin off into podcasting.
Ben gets a call from Texas informing him that his girlfriend has died. He is confused because she was just a casual date he barely remembered.
Abi’s family had a different idea and begged him to come to the funeral.
Ben had no interest in the girl, but was fascinated with the story of a young woman who died of an overdose, leaving her family convinced that she was murdered.
Ben befriends the extended family, moves in with them and starts sending his blog to his boss (Issa Rae).
On the surface, “Vengeance” appeared to be a culture-clash movie, with the slick New Yorker clashing with the small towners, where everyone owned a gun and ate at the local Whataburger.
But Novak, who also wrote and directed the movie, digs deeper into existential elements that at times are a bit far out and overdone.
Ben digs into Abi’s past, concluding that the family and the townsfolk are obsessed with conspiracy theories. The family cannot accept the fact that sister was a drug addict.
Ashton Kutcher plays a record producer who has other interests and plays a big part in the violent conclusion to an otherwise talky two hours.
The conclusion tackles the question of vigilante justice and the theory that people from different parts of the country see things differently.
“Vengeance” is a very different movie that will make you think long after the credits.
Rated R with violence and profanity.
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