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Kick-Ass (2012): ***

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

Kick-Ass is a movie about horrifying things: a deranged man teaching his pre-pubescent daughter to be a murderer; a teenager getting stabbed, hit by a car, having multiple surgeries and going through painstaking physical therapy; a cruel gangster using his son as bait to lure his deadly enemies; a girl watching her father be burned to death. And it's all presented as a rollicking, wacky, almost feel-good comedy. And somehow it works.

I thoroughly enjoyed Kick-Ass. I thought it was a great fun little flick. Not Earth-shakingly good, but certainly not bad. So how does it manage to deal with its horrifying subject matter (especially the idea of Big Daddy & Hit Girl)? Easy. It doesn't deal with it at all. Director Vaughn completely ignores even the possibility that anything going on in the movie could be at all disturbing and plunges fearlessly forward into comedy. And it's astonishing. I'm watching a little girl murder a half dozen people in completely brutal ways while the theme song to The Banana Splits blasts on the soundtrack, and somehow Vaughn gets me to laugh and actually root for her to succeed.

It didn't work on everybody, I know. A lot of reviewers (especially Ebert) were completely mortified at what was happening on the screen. But it worked for me!

Particularly funny is Nicolas Cage's extremely quirky and bizarre half-Adam-West performance as the completely loving and batshit-crazy Big Daddy. Chloe Moretz plays Hit-Girl as someone who has simply grown up in this situation and so sees nothing weird or wrong about it; in fact she thoroughly enjoys her life and her relationship with her father.

So, yeah. It's a fun little flick. Nothing terribly extraordinary, and I'm probably not gonna bother to get it on DVD, but very enjoyable.

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