Vengeance: BJ Novak’s Dance is the Texas Too-Smart

I enjoyed Vengeance, written and directed by BJ Novak, but also felt agitated. Based on his cartwheels of Mensa-like dialogue, his Harvard diploma is apparent. And that’s the problem with Vengeance, its a little too full of itself, a proverbial Texas Too-Smart.
Ideas I enjoyed: that modern Americans are selfish, wanting it all. The fresh witty repartee between Novak and John Mayer which opens the film describes this idea, and I wish he had just stuck with that as a theme.

But wait, here comes another: that Americans need stories more than they want news.
But wait, here’s another: Texans may be ignorant socially, but smart intellectually.
But wait, here’s another: Everyone has to have their opinion heard these days, which means everything is ‘important’ and if everything is equal in importance, than nothing means anything.
But wait, the fact that we want to record everything on our cell phones means we are more enamored by the recordings than we are by the actual humans…

You get the idea. All points are very valid, but what happens in the cinematic mean time is that the story gets lost as do the actors as characters.
Props got to Novak, Mayer, Kutcher and especially the child actor named Eli Bickel as each of their parts were executed with eloquence. But the sum doesn’t equal the parts and instead we wind up with many little pieces of good acting and great dialogue and philosophical takes on our current sociology.

I do want to add something highly ironic considering the movie’s basic plot is about a woman who is left to die for whom no one cares to investigate. Vengeance lacks any important female voice, the actresses roles just pretty or interesting yellow roses. Hmmmmm……..

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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