Friday, April 19, 2013

Sexy Evil Genius: Movie Review

So far from genius, the insanity of Nikki undoes the good character and acting work that came before.
Four strangers are mysteriously brought to a Los Angeles bar by a femme fatale-style ex-girlfriend they all have in common. That kind of set up for “Sexy Evil Genius” can be hit-or-miss; it's an especially odd case when it hits and misses in the same film. First we meet Zach (Seth Green) he's Nikki's old high school flame, and then we meet Miranda (Michelle Trachtenberg) from her recent lesbian days and she knows the most about Nikki. Primarily that she killed her last boyfriend. Uh, oh. 2013

Directed by: Shawn Piller

Screenplay by: Scott Lew

Starring: Seth Green, Katee Sackhoff, Michelle Trachtenberg, Harold Perrineau and William Baldwin

The opening was solid, mostly due to Seth Green. He's made a career out of playing immature characters in bad comedies and while on the surface, Zach seems like the same old Seth Green that we know and love, he just brought so much more to this character than I have ever seen from him. It's an understated drama and Zach is very much the most down-to-Earth character; he does what was expected from him in society and that's about it. He's the dweeby everyman, but one that we want to relate to. This first twenty minutes or so is just conversation between him, Miranda and Marvin (Harold Perrineau) talking about Nikki. And all three deliver the dialogue well. They make it easy for us to get interested in the mind trip that is supposed to be coming.

Now let's talk about Nikki (Katee Sackhoff). She is about as unattractive as you could possibly make Katee Sackhoff look. But “sexy” is the least of their problems. She’s more insane, petty and irrational than evil, but close enough. The problem is “genius”. That’s an awfully high compliment to pay someone and Nikki is far from genius. Her plans are ridiculously convoluted for no good reason. Her exes make it very clear that she’s supposed to be really smart, insisting that she’s the smartest person they have ever met. They’ve either never met anybody else or they’re so in love with her they take her insanity as a sign of genius. The film never gave us any reason to love her or any reason to explain why the others were in love with her. And thus the arrival of Nikki marked the rapid descent of the film.

Seth Green, William Baldwin and Harrold Perrineau, in particular, delivered the dialogue well to explain the past events in their life that brought them to his particular bar. Baldwin plays Bert, Nikki’s defense lawyer, and of course he’s sleeping with her too. The others want to know from Bert if she really is crazy. It’s pretty obvious, and quickly concluded, that she is in fact insane. All that is left for the last half of the film is to debate which kind of insane she is. Is that really necessary? Insane is insane is insane, which one is hardly relevant.

They also want to figure out if she is there to kill one of them and how. This plot which she has concocted is so far from genius, it’s hard to take the “sexy” or “evil” part seriously either. She’s insane. Isn’t that reason enough to just leave?

Who Might Like This: Anybody looking for dramas with a mysterious element to it; people who like dialogue-heavy films and aren't turned off by some wacky twists; fans of Seth Green, Michelle Trachtenberg or Harold Perrineau.

Similar Titles:

Daydream Nation (2010) - An edge-of-your-seat coming-of-age drama.

At Any Price (2012) - A small character study that doesn’t lead to anything as interesting as it should.

Trance (2013) - Twisting straight away from reality and into ridiculous nonsense.

Cloud Atlas (2012) - Three hours with one bad idea and six boring stories does not add up to a good movie.

I'm Yours (2011) - A barren, lonely, depressed road trip to nowhere interesting.