Barnaby Thompson’s “Pixie” is one of those adventurous comedies that injects just enough violence as it dispenses dry, but effective humor to appease those who are a fan of this genre. It’s an off-the-wall plot set in Ireland revolving around Olivia Cooke’s Pixie, the daughter of a gangster. Who after some twists and turns, and a couple of dead bodies, finds herself with a couple of friends on the run in possession of a bag of stolen drugs. That will encounter frequent obstacles on their path as they traverse the Irish countryside in hopes of turning their product into fortune.
Where “Pixie” Thrives
Olivia Cooke was without a doubt the most charismatic aspect of this film. Through her performance as Pixie O’Brien, the story has a charming but equally cunning character to invest in. There were many layers to this character’s personality and Cooke captured them all with appeal. Pixie is naturally deceptive, you never can tell when she is being sincere, or playing the room, and this range in mood allowed Cook to flex her acting chops. This was in a sense her coming-of-age story. At times, a violent one with harrowing situations, quick thinking, manipulation, and resilience, yet there was a consistent enthusiasm to Cooke’s performance that can draw you in to see where this film will end for her.
Ben Hardy and Daryl McCormack were rather good here as well, and they had the needed chemistry with Cooke to sell them as a trio of friends. They also were able to land frequent comedic bits throughout, despite the intensity of the material, which I felt showed a naturally unassuming comedic range. They essentially feel like Pixie’s lapdogs, but they’re likable and you kind of feel for them at times, knowing they have nothing close to the mental capacity to keep up with Pixie’s charming manipulation.
The storyline was engaging to say the least. It was flawed in areas, but overall, it was more than enough to keep me engaged. It’s loaded with characters and plot layers that admittedly do get muddled in places, but for the most part it’s able to keep the curiosity-level up while watching to see where this wild-ish ride will go. It has fun characters such as this group of criminal priests led by Alec Baldwin who delivers a ton of amusing sprit in a smaller role. It also works in plenty of killing to keep the darker tone in place, all the while keeping the frequency of the humor dialed up. So, there is a lot going on in this 93-minute flick to keep you invested, and the Ireland settings are a nice change of pace.
Where “Pixie” Falls Short
While this movie does provide some laughs and a collection of fun characters, it sort of feels bland, and lacking that pop to make it feel lasting. The attempts at humor are nicely-crafted in places, and capably delivered by the cast but nothing sticks out. The dark comedy comes from the dialogue, there’s a variety of situational humor as well and a lot of it does work. All of which makes this a worthy one-time watch. But outside of a great performance from Cooke and seeing Baldwin as a priest with a machine gun, there is nothing of note that will resonate enough to revisit this movie again. The story has its turns and layers of character implications, but possibly too much of it all to the point that the entire story feels jumbled when trying to look back at it.
The Final Verdict on “Pixie”
This is worth checking out for fans of dark, violent Euro comedies, with dramatic undertones. The action and violence when it hits does have its moments. Particularly during the final-act that is fun enough, despite being familiar to a lot of other movie closings. But for this movie it all comes back to Olivia Cooke who was the one consistent aspect of it throughout. It was entertaining to see her play with this role, she was lovable, deceptive, humorous, and always in control as Pixie which in this case, was enough to compensate for other areas of the film that didn’t quite live up to her performance.