Wicked (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)


This is an OK, but not great, little movie that didn't get beyond the film festival circuit for two main reasons:

1. It's demented. You think a lot of middle class mainstream Americans will pony up their bucks for a film about a 14 year old girl who kills her mom so she can screw her dad, then uses the sexual relationship with her dad to blackmail him into doing what she wants? America is growing up, but not that fast.

2. It's OK, but not good enough to overcome the inherent commercial liability of the theme. If Nabokov's Lolita couldn't find a mass audience, how could this? If I were a distributor, I wouldn't take a chance on this kind of concept. It isn't worth the hassle.


None from Stiles, although Julia was 16 when the film was made, and the film basks in her sexuality.

A brief nipple peek from Louise Myrback.

It has some weaknesses that keep it from playing out as a thriller.  

The first plot twist is completely obvious. We aren't supposed to know that Julia killed her bitchy mom. After all, mom was fucking half the neighborhood, and both the dad and the au pair hated her more than Julia, but the film never made more than a half-hearted attempt at misdirection. The second plot twist was also telegraphed. We aren't supposed to be sure that the dad had sex with Julia after mom's death, but the film again made it too obvious.

On the other hand, some of the twists at the end of the movie were quite delicious, when more bodies started turning up. Who exactly killed whom, and why?

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1, and a full screen version

  • no major features

But I don't think the movie is meant to play out primarily as a thriller. I think it was meant to be seen as a black comedy, and is pretty black, if not that comic. What it lacks in brilliance, it certainly makes up in perversity. It is slickly filmed and conceived under the direction of Michael Steinberg, who also directed the vastly underrated film, The Waterdance. It is very well performed by some of the actors, especially Julia Stiles who did a convincing job as a cold-hearted adult in the body of a kid, with plenty of kid still stuck in there with her.

On the other hand, some of the characters, like the au pair, are written confusingly, so that we never know whether they are essentially good people, or what. Is the au pair a gold digger, or does she really love the kids? You never are sure.

If the plot description doesn't completely put you off, you could watch this just on the strength of Stiles' performance. 

The Critics Vote

  • no major reviews

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.5
  • With their dollars ... no theatrical release - film festival circuit, premiering at Sundance three years ago.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C.

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