You can’t fully trust Variety‘s Joe Leydon when it comes to South by Southwest reviews. He’s a Houston guy, of course, and I for one have always sensed a certain local-pride spirit in his writings from this Austin-based festival. He also tends to go too easy on genre crap. And so I’m processing his rave review of Matthew Vaughn‘s Kick Ass (Lionsgate, 4.16), which had its big SXSW debut last night, with a degree of suspicion.

This despite an HE friend insisting via e-mail that Kick-Ass “is the real deal — trust me. Maybe a little too wanting to be controversial with the Hit Girl character but this is going to be very big. Cage hasn’t been this good in ages. The movie is a huge crowd-pleaser and more clever than the masses could ever imagine.”

Kick-Ass most certainly does,” Leydon begins. “Equal parts audacious dark comedy, wish-fulfillment fantasy and over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek action-adventure, Matthew Vaughn’s bloody funny adaptation of a cult-fave comicbook series manages to be sufficiently faithful to its source material to please fervent fanboys while remaining easily accessible for ticketbuyers unfamiliar with the superhero storytelling conventions

“Vaughn (Layer Cake) and co-scripter Jane Goldman satirize as well as celebrate. Scenes of hilariously overstated violence perpetrated by an 11-year-old girl doubtless will discomfort many and incense quite a few. But this deservedly R-rated Lionsgate release should nonetheless score a knockout in theatrical and homevid venues.”

“Deservedly” R-rated? I think we all know what that means.

I know a bit about Vaughn from Layer Cake, at least to the extent that I know that he’s not exactly Mr. Subtle — i.e., he likes to lather it on and then some.