It’s usually a treat when a film holds a mirror up to itself and cackles. In this case, Mr. Right flies out of the gates with flippancy towards action films, buddy comedies, and farfetched rom-coms.
With its screenplay penned by Max Landis (son of John Landis, and known for being brazenly honest about the film industry) and lead roles filled out by a suave Sam Rockwell and precocious Anna Kendrick, Mr. Right had the right ingredients to blow raspberries at Hollywood formulas and tropes. Instead, Mr. Right gets too cocky by its own pumped up self-righteousness. It plays like a rough draft of Landis’ far superior thriller American Ultra.
It’s tough to classify how much of Paco Cabezas’ comedy stayed true to Landis’ script. However, with Landis on board as an executive producer, I can only assume the final product is fairly accurate. However, as a filmmaker who is supposed to have good judgement of pacing and feasible logic, Cabezas drops the ball by dragging out too many jokes that gawk at the obvious. A running gag involving Rockwell getting chummy with his rivals is beaten into the ground. By the time he’s sharing gummy bears with trigger-happy thug Shotgun Steve (Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA), I wanted to give the movie a shake. A knife-throwing montage has so many smiles and winks, the audience begins to wonder if the production forgot about any danger that could exist in this film.
The repertoire between Rockwell’s hitman character and Kendrick’s lovesick Martha is built on sarcasm, so it’s somewhat easy to believe the passiveness exuded by Martha when Rockwell kids about off-the-cuff murders. Even then, there are confrontations that are too pat when the truth is revealed about deadly mishaps.
Mr. Right likes to acknowledge instead of carrying out its own practice. There have been plenty of comedies that have flipped the bird towards storytelling conventions, but those films have been tighter and driven with more tenacity. Without those leading attributes, you just have a movie that is flipping off the audience.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie