Friday, April 15, 2016

Movie Review: MR. RIGHT

From the creative and crazy mind of Max Landis comes Quirky Hitman Comedy #87, a movie that doesn't know whether it wants to be a cutesy romance or a violent, absurdist action comed-
Oh wait, sorry it's called Mr. Right. My bad.

Anna Kendrick plays Martha, a young, mess of a woman who starts going crazy after breaking up with her boyfriend. She suffers from "an early mid-life crisis" relentlessly annoying her friends and in turn the audience. One day the skies seem brighter as she meets Sam Rockwell's mysterious and cartoon-like Francis. He hits on her, displaying the signs of a borderline sexual predator, and it's love at first sight! The only problem is, she's not the only thing he's hitting on. Get it.. because he's a hitman, hehe. Like some sort of messed up Dexter, he's done with murder and only kills the people who hire him. Because y'know, morals.

Mr Right is watchable in large part thanks to the charm and chemistry of its two leads. While I didn't buy the relationship between the two characters, it had some cute moments and Sam Rockwell, one of my favorite actors is great as always, soaring above the material he's been given. His character is charming, likable, and in true Sam Rockwell fashion, quirky as all hell. Anna Kendrick does her best but suffers from a badly written character. Martha is such a lunatic that Kendrick's performance comes off as an audition to play Harley Quinn. RZA was entertaining as a good-natured henchman, and Tim Roth manages to make even the worst lines sound cool. The rest of the actors in the movie are hit-or-miss, but the biggest problem Mr. Right has is its screenplay.

Max Landis burst onto the scene with the surprise hit Chronicle, and has gained an internet following for his outspoken opinions. Unfortunately though he's yet to come into his own as a filmmaker. His movies have a characterization problem; everybody talks like him. Every single character in the movie comes off as another weird extension of Landis' own personality, and the same rings true for his previous script, American Ultra. Like American Ultra, Mr. Right doesn't find the right tone, and director Paco Cabezas doesn't feel like the right fit for the material. The film skews more to the side of wild, self-aware absurdity than it does real life romance, but in the crucial moments Cabezas didn't take it far enough. The action sequences, while entertaining, felt amateurish and lacked the flair really needed to elevate this material. Landis' movies have faced the problem of bright ideas with poor execution, and from a man screaming for more originality in Hollywood, Mr. Right is disappointingly derivative.

The plot will leave you scratching your head as it becomes more and more unbelievable, which could've worked for this kind of movie if they really leaned into it and embraced the weirdness, but instead Mr. Right mostly falls flat. Sam Rockwell is the saving grace, and whenever he's on screen Mr. Right is genuinely really enjoyable. Rockwell hasn't been in a good movie since The Way Way Back (2013), and one can't help but wish we could see him as a great part of a great movie, rather than the best thing in a bad movie.

While it has its moments and gets by on the strength of its two leads, Mr. Right is ultimately another forgettable action comedy from Max Landis. I fell in love at first sight with Chronicle, but he now has me questioning whether or not he really is my Mr. Right after all.

Jacob's Score: 4/10

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