Directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion
June 5, 2020
A group of escaped criminals who are searching for a mysterious key get more than they bargained for when they track down the girl that has it.
Becky the Film was a bit of a surprise. I was expecting something along the lines of an unfunny Home Alone. Seriously. In a story where kid going up against thugs you expect something along those lines. And to a certain extent that is what you get. But the film is not all about taking down the bad guys. It is about Becky the Character.
Becky the Character (Lulu Wilson) is filled with rage and anger over the death of her mother. When exactly that was is a little fuzzy. Or what took her for that matter is vague too. I do not recall them ever touching on the subject. She died like a Disney mom: inexplicably and off camera. It just jumps out to me is all.
Joel McHale plays Becky’s father Jeff and Amanda Brugel plays the new woman in Jeff’s life named Kayla who comes with a young son as well. There is much more of a connection of Jeff to the story, but Kayla does not add too much other than to give a reason for Kayla to be in the house when Dominick (Kevin James) and his gang show up. Even her presence in the finale felt a bit extraneous.
Becky gets kind of intimidating as the story goes along. She reaches a point where she just becomes a killing machine. I am not talking about an action film heroine who suddenly can kick everyone’s ass and barely break a sweat. I am talking an individual that just loves to kill and is indifferent to life and death. There big a big scary thug named Apex (Robert Maillet) that has been showing mercy to Becky during the course of the film and she just shoots him.
The creative minds here made good use of the materials you would expect to find in the possession of a young girl. Becky manages to do some real damage with rather innocuous items. And they make it clear that Becky is effective in her attempts because Dominick’s gang does not take a child seriously as a problem at first.
Becky is not a bad thriller with Kevin James being surprisingly dark in this film as Dominick who is the leader of the gang. I always approach dramatic turns by comedians a little nervously. Some more than others. James was on the more side. Not every famous person can or should do something outside of what they are known for. Fortunately James did a good job.
I do have one question: what exactly were the criminals after beyond the key? I am asking what was in whatever it opened. Did I miss that part? No. They never touch on what is so important in whatever they are trying to open. Is it money? That would be a safe assumption, but they never indicate anything really. For all I know it could be something containing the number 42 which is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. Thank you, Douglas Adams.
This is a production done on the cheap. Whatever money was put behind it was not significant. The shots are tight, and the action only takes place in a handful of areas. Given that these are violent killers not much really happens to the surrounding structures. Other than a car wrecking into a tree which brings the police, the environment by and large remains intact. The criminals take much more damage than anything. I would expect these criminals as their anger grew over not getting their prize and being repeatedly bested by someone not old enough to drive to go into overdrive in their destruction.
Becky is not a bad film, but it is missing something. What that something is I cannot quite put my finger on. There is a good script and good performances with solid direction. Maybe it is the lingering questions concerning the mom and her death or what was so important about the key. Maybe it is extraneous Kayla and her forgettable kid. Could it be the limitations of the low budget? It is not one in particular but rather all of them together that bring this film down. All these things together are strong enough to weaken the narrative’s hold on you.
Becky is an interesting opportunity to see comedians such as Kevin James and Joel McHale take a dramatic and at moments dark turn. That though is not enough in my opinion. This is only if you want-barely.