Representing the directorial debut of The Office’s B.J. Novak, Blumhouse’s fish-out-of-water comedy thriller Vengeance sends Novak’s New York City podcaster Ben Manalowitz to West Texas in search of the truth behind the drug-related death of his Lone Star State hookup, Abilene Shaw. Abilene’s grieving family not only mistakenly believe Ben was her girlfriend but demand he join them in their crusade to avenge her death. Not interested in taking the law into his own hands, Ben instead sets off to investigate Abilene’s possibly suspicious death for a podcast series that’s framed as an existential crime story. Ben, of course, possesses a surface-level knowledge of Texas, so Vengeance addresses his misconceptions about the state, its people, its history, its customs, etc. Hence Vengeance’s running jokes about UT football and a certain beloved Texas fast-food restaurant chain. Vengeance costars Boyd Holbrook as Abilene’s brother Ty, Issa Rae as Ben’s podcast producer Eloise, and Ashton Kutcher as the enigmatic Marfa record producer Quentin Sellers. Vengeance, which was shot in New Mexico, opens July 29 in theaters. In addition to starring in and writing episodes of The Office, B.J. Novak costarred in Inglourious Basterds, Saving Mr. Banks, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and The Founder. He also created the Hulu anthology series The Premise.
Aired: July 26, 2022.