Reviews | Written by Joel Harley 11/06/2020


The King of Queens himself breaks bad for this, his Big, Serious Role as an escaped prison convict and Nazi clan leader. Kevin James, best known as the doofy guy in Hitch, or Adam Sandler's friend, stretches his dramatic muscles, breaking into a family's home and menacing the milquetoast inhabitants within. The only member of the family not intimidated by murderous Dominick and his gang of heavies is thirteen-year-old Becky (Lulu Wilson); rebellious, bad-tempered, and struggling with serious anger management issues. When Dominick's home invasion escalates beyond what was supposed to be a simple in-and-out MacGuffin grab, Becky channels her inner John Rambo/McClane to give Dominick and his crew a taste of their own medicine. You know, kind of like Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

While directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion do lean into the absurdism of pitting a thirteen-year-old girl against a gang of prison convicts, the story is played straight, especially where its characterisation of young Becky is concerned. This rumination on contagious violence goes all in on Becky's wrath; anger and hatred let off the leash, and some truly shocking (but satisfying) gore to boot (take that, Nazis!). None of which would work without Wilson as Becky, who steals the whole show and puts her adult co-stars to shame. Sorry, Kevin James. Given the story, it's ironic that the limelight should be stolen from its big name star, who is aggressively fine as Dominick. Kevin James glowers and stomps, but doesn't have much to do, aside from a pivotal scene of gross-out ultraviolence in the middle, and showdown at the end. He's overshadowed in the acting stakes by Wilson and, physically, by Robert Mailet, who plays lead thug Apex. Even the perpetually artificial Joel McHale makes a better show of it, as Becky's well-meaning but useless dad. 

In taking its fight so seriously, Becky frequently stretches the limits of plausibility, and relies on too much contrivance for comfort. But it's exceptionally well-made and a lot of fun, with a great (if underutilised) cast. It's Home Alone meets You're Next for the 'Becky' generation. 

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