“You in some kind of trouble?”
“You sure about that?”
Small-town mechanic Vincent (Emile Hirsch) and punk aficionado Roxxy (Zoe Kravitz) are driven together when a car crash ends in Vincent playing white knight, and Roxxy on the run from Suga (Kid Cudi). After he offers respite at his family’s farm, Roxxy is reluctant to accept Vincent’s hospitality, but she surprises him at his auto shop within a day. Not to be outdone, Vincent’s reformed brother J.C. (Emory Cohen) and his girlfriend (Zoey Deutch) offer Roxxy a job at the Bottom’s Up Bar. It spoils nothing to say that the two fall in love. The title and macho, quiet men paired with street-savvy women are homages to the Quentin Tarantino/Tony Scott B-movies of the 90s.
After several long, static shots of overflowing ashtrays and empty whiskey bottles serve, even the audience doesn’t question Vincent’s decision to escape the cloistered confines of this small Louisianna town. Despite Roxxy’s questions about exactly what he did in the big city, Vincent reveals nothing. But he proves to be much more adept at violence than he lets on. A trait that seems to define both Vincent and J.C. The pair of Emile Hirsch and Emory Cohen as brothers haunted by their poor choices in the past. The exploits of Vincent and J.C. would have been fertile ground for a potentially intriguing examination of toxic masculinity, but Gary Michael Schultz chooses a turn out of left field for the conclusion. Such a choice shows faith in the Zoe Kravitz, and she does not disappoint. The same cannot be said for some of the other directorial decisions.
The violence is as bloody and brutal as Vincent and Roxxy’s romance is sweet. The problem with reveling in such violence is that distractingly poor CGI takes the viewer right out of the scene. Not to mention it completely unwinds the tender tone that had been building in the stillness of small-town life. A history of violence often means a return to that lifestyle is inescapable, but Vincent N Roxxy so callously forces the focus on beatings, stabbings, and shootings that one is forced to check out. Schultz’ background in horror suggests that he is more comfortable with this work, but it was the wrong choice for this particular film.
To waste a solid cast like this with barebones writing and little to no motivation is a shame. Hirsch manages to give a feel for Vincent despite little dialogue, but only Kravitz’ charisma saves the romance from feeling forced. At an hour and 41 minutes, Vincent N’ Roxxy suffers from a lack of an identity. The meat of the story wants to be about two broken lovers finding solace inside each other, but it also wants to borrow liberally from revenge genre exercises like True Romance. Expanding into two-plus hours would give the film a shot about reconciling the two aims, but, as it stands, it succeeds at neither.