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'Kin' is an atrocious marriage of bad acting and laughable writing

Kin is the movie you rent when you drunkenly stumble into Walgreens around midnight looking for a cinematic sleeping pill to go with your frozen pizza and cheap beer.
Summit Entertainment

There's nothing like a great comedy. A movie that can pick up your day, add a few laughs to it, and leave you feeling better about the next week. Kin, the new science fiction film from Jonathan and Josh Baker, is a comedy, but not in a good way.

The plot is as arbitrary as cutting the grass. The young, troubled, and adopted Eli Solinski (Myles Truitt) comes into the possession of a mysterious alien weapon that only he can make work. A weapon that can make a car bounce or a human being turn to ash. Think of the ray gun that Michael Keaton's Vulture dispensed one of his henchmen with in Spider Man: Homecoming. Things get complicated when Myles' brother, Jimmy (Jack Reynor), gets out of jail and returns home to create problems for Myles and their father, Hal (Dennis Quaid, going through the motions).

You see, Jimmy owes the dangerous creep, Taylor (James Franco), money for protection that kept him alive during his 6-year jail stint. When Jimmy can't pay, Taylor takes offense and gets violent, sending the siblings on the run. There's bonding, a stripper with a heart of gold (Zoe Kravitz), a couple following the action on motorcycles with special powers, and of course, Taylor and his crew gunning for blood.

The Baker Brothers carved the screenplay from their 2014 short film, Bag Man, which followed a 12-year-old African American boy roaming the streets of New York. It's too bad Kin isn't 15 minutes long, because that would have been a lifesaver.

There's simply nothing fresh or worth watching here. The script is something I could have found in my 6-year-old son's backpack after a slow day at school, stuffed with cliched relationship jargon, hackneyed dialogue, and the most predictable plot development that one will catch in 2018. I halfway expected Melissa McCarthy and the dirty muppets to pop up here just to make things worse. This film could have used a little humor. Everyone is so serious, sad and mopey that it puts all the attention on the main characters.

Reynor, featured in Transformers: Age of Extinction as the Achilles heel in Mark Wahlberg's life, is terrible and helps drown the film. He needs to make his acting career become extinct because he makes Liam Hemsworth seem credible with his work here. Jimmy has to emote in a couple scenes, and you can literally see Reynor struggling with the material. It's like watching a careless teenager crawl through a high school drama class. He's got a big part here and flunks.

Truitt is earnest but seems bored and half-asleep when he's not firing the big alien gun. Kravitz doesn't have much to do, but try to look worried and concerned from time to time. This is C-list actors playing with D-list writing. A playground of broken dreams.

The bad thing is a lot of solid talent is wasted here. The only slightly redeeming factor here is Franco's heavy. In the same manner he did with Jason Statham in Homefront, the Academy Award-nominated actor looks to be in on the joke and has fun with the part, creating a couple laughs, even if they are unintentional. Carrie Coon has a thankless role, and there's a late cameo from one of Hollywood's brightest stars that's too little and too late. Quaid's Jersey type accent is nearly as bad as Reynor's American accent.

From the producers who gave us much better entertainment in Arrival and Stranger Things, Kin is the movie you rent when you drunkenly stumble into Walgreens around midnight looking for a cinematic sleeping pill to go with your frozen pizza and cheap beer. It's not something you fork out $12 for, or acquire a babysitter in order to enjoy.

I will say that three fingers of bourbon will help this stinker digest more easily. Drink early and often, because this is a bad movie. There's a twist at the end that should surprise no one, and the special effects really aren't that special. I don't know about you, but I get annoyed when a PG-13 action film has violent sequences without any blood splatter or crimson at all.

You can thank me for strapping on the film critic bulletproof vest and taking one for the team. I hope the Baker boys can be a little more fabulous next time out. There may have been a hammy good time located somewhere here, but the filmmakers couldn't find it. Give the script another look, trim up the running time, and give us something people haven't seen before. Save the B-movie trash for the shelf.

If I were you, I'd skip Kin altogether.