If anything, “Hick” certainly is a movie. And it’s an adaptation of a book, so it’s a special kind of a movie. It has a beginning, a pretty good soundtrack, and some end credits. And our director pretty much loves to feature prepubescent actress Chloe Moretz barely naked for much of the film. But that’s okay, because her character Lulli is so lovable spending so much time drawing pictures, talking to herself, and acting out her favorite movies that we can forgive the fact that she walks around her house in frilly panties and a tank top, even when men she’s never met visit for the first time. Is she just naive or is she trying to seduce men? I never quite figured it out and neither did the writer, apparently.
Lulli is supposed to be this lovable little nymph who spends most of her days in her fantasy world, narrating her life story to herself (?) and then trying to figure out why her life sucks so much. She has her thirteenth birthday party in a bar where her parents get drunk and try to fight over her. She’s given a gun by her uncle and spends most of her time playing with it and imitating “Taxi Driver” in front of a mirror. Her parents let her keep the gun. Because they’re hicks. Get it? As for Lulli she goes on a coming of age journey that will change her life. Or alter it. In fact, let’s just be honest here. She learns nothing by the time the film ends. The basic bullet point of the movie is that Lulli ventures out to go to Las Vegas, meets an assortment of demented and violent characters along the way, figures out the world is one big scary place, and decides that maybe living life with two drunk dysfunctional parents using her in their ever lasting bitter battle isn’t so bad.
Hell in reality, Lulli would opt to swallow her gun. Or at least enter in to child services. But no, she goes home because, there’s no place like a broken home. The screenwriters can never seem to make up their minds about our protagonist Lulli. Sometimes she seems street smart, and then she seems too stupid to travel outside her door, let alone Las Vegas. Is she a Lolita or is she just naive? Does she know how good looking she is, or is she oblivious because her mom soaks up the attention from men? Is she more street smart than the audience is aware of or is she just a misguided dunce living by what she’s seen in the movies? Is she a tease or just someone who hasn’t yet realized the effect she has on men? Who does she spend her time talking to during the opening of the movie? “Hick” never seems to know thus the movie is painfully confused nine times out of ten. For all intents and purposes, the cast is pretty damn great with Moretz more than able to hold up the movie on her charisma and acting ability.
The most interesting sub-plot though belongs to Eddie Redmayne’s character Eddie Kreezer, a disabled cowboy with a penchant for violent outbursts who is constantly kicked around in his life and chooses to look after Lulli when the pair form an uneasy bond. Much of “Hick” is confusing and downright distracting as the writer can never decide on a tone to keep audiences invested. The story varies from drama to comedy to road film, and spends an enormous amount of time on broken characters to help emphasize how broken the whole world is. By the time Lulli awakens strapped to a bed, you’ll wonder if it’s leading to anything remotely meaningful. “Hick” has clear potential to be a compelling adult coming of age drama, but in the end it’s just a notch above dismal. Even with the star power.