The story arc never seemed to peak because it never really began.
Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011 was Hick, a film directed by Derick Martini about a teenager who aimlessly drifts away from her Nebraska home. Aimlessly drifts are a common theme here because the entire film seems to follow the main characters lead. The film tried to be bizarre and off-beat but ultimately it felt more contrived than anything.
One of the first scenes in Hick is Luli McMullen (Chloe Grace Moretz) having her thirteen year old birthday party at a crappy dive bar in Nebraska. One of the birthday gifts she opens up happens to be a .45 Smith & Wesson. Afterwards her mother and father both drunkenly fight over who is driving her home but both are too drunk to do so. Instead, she gets a ride from a person who works at the bar. That is how this family operates in a nutshell.
The next morning her mother leaves with a real estate agent with Luli witnessing. After telling her father the news, he seems more upset than surprised. After he finishes his breakfast also abandons her. On a whim she gets the idea of going to Las Vegas for no other reason but there is sugar daddy potential there. And that is how the adventure starts and we have little choice to accept this as the plot.
Luli manages to find a ride from a young gentleman named Eddie Kreezer (Eddie Redmayne) but it is not long before she manages to upset him enough to kick her out. After finding shelter to sleep underneath a bridge she is awakened by a woman who pulled over from the highway to urinate, nearly on her. Somehow she convinces the woman to give her a ride.
The woman’s name is Glenda (Blake Lively) who seems to be exactly like Luli in 30 years. Within the first few minutes of meeting each other Glenda offers cocaine to Luli. Her thought process is that Luli will probably doing it with her friends sometime soon anyways so why not let her try it now.
The two stop at a convenience store and form a plan to rob it. Both feeding of each other’s similar personalities, they are a dangerous combination. If there were related they would be a twisted mother and daughter version of Bonnie and Clyde.
It turns out that Eddie, who first picked Luli up for a ride, knows Glenda. Glenda is in some sort of relationship with Eddie’s boss and for no good reason Eddie is put in charge of looking after Luli. Eddie seems to have a sexual connection with Luli that soon becomes dangerous.
I have little doubt that the novel this film was adapted for would be more intriguing then it’s film counterpart. This is one of those cases where the book most likely did not translate well to film, although I have to speculate because I have not read the novel. I felt like the characters in Hick were not developed well enough as they could have and the film only skimmed the subject matters they encounter.
The best part about the film is the performance by Chloe Grace Moretz. She is a fearless teenager who waves guns around like they are nothing and snorts coke when given the chance. She has played in roles ranging from Kick-Ass to Let Me In to Hugo but probably never has had as much on-screen face time as this. When most of the other actors seem to overplay their characters she was the least offender.
What annoyed me the most is when Luli suddenly shows that she does have normal human emotions when she for some reason is mad when Glenda leaves her. She did not seem to bat an eye when her mother did the same thing at the beginning. Now granted, her mother did not seem to care much for her so maybe she saw Glenda as a role model to look up to. But why? Maybe she wanted to believe Glenda was a better person than she really was. Again, lack of character development.
There is more than one scene that will leave you scratching your head. I appreciated the strangeness that was found in the scenes but so many of them felt forced. They really did not seem to fit in or were not needed at all.
To use the film’s own words, Hick is not “worth of note”. The big problem is the film never hooks the viewer in from the beginning. So the story arc never seemed to peak because it never really began. The underdeveloped characters make it nearly impossible to sympathize with them, making you wonder what the film was trying to accomplish.