Synopsis: A failed New York playwright awkwardly navigates the transition from Next Big Thing to Last Year’s News.
Stars: Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Christopher Fitzgerald, Darren Criss
Director: Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman
Running Length: 103 minutes
Trailer Review: Here
TMMM Score: (3/10)
Review: Oh boy. This is a rough review to write because I’m such a fan of Kristen Wiig but Girl Most Likely is pretty dreadful. This misguided comedy that wants to masquerade its significant shortcomings by hiding under the guise of offbeat humor is a major step down the wrong path for its star who is so much better than this soggy material.
Making a name for herself on Saturday Night Live and then getting an Oscar nomination for writing Bridesmaids, Wiig has kept a fairly low profile for herself turning up for a supporting roles in Despicable Me 2 and Friends with Kids. So in her first true starring role I expected a lot more than the painful to watch Girl Most Likely had to offer. It’s no secret the movie has sat on the shelf for a while as it awaited a distributor and though Roadside Attractions has tried to spiff this one up with a decent poster and engaging trailer, it was all smoke and mirrors to distract the audience that the film is a dog.
The movie reminded me a lot of 2011’s Young Adult which found Charlize Theron’s not-very-nice semi-successful novelist returning to her home town with her eyes on making off with her high school sweetheart. She reacquaints herself with old friends and family and though she gets a taste of her own medicine she winds up realizing the person she’s become…and making the choice not to change. In Girl Most Likely, Wiig is a failed NYC playwright still pining for her ex who, after a faked suicide attempt, winds up living in Atlantic City with her mother (Annette Bening, The Grifters), her brother (Christopher Fitzgerald) and two new men in her life. The first is her mom’s loopy beau (Matt Dillon, In & Out) who claims to be in the CIA and the other is a performer at a local hob-knob casino renting out her old room (Darren Criss). As expected, everyone living under the same roof creates some sparks…none of them producing anything resembling laughs or excitement.
Theater guy Fitzgerald comes out the best from this mess playing the kind of role that could easily be grating but is instead instilled with some heart and charm the rest of the people, places, and situations Girl Most Likely is sadly missing. Dillon and Bening go through the motions, though one wonders how they ended up paired together because their lack of chemistry is readily apparent. Speaking of no-chemistry, though Criss and Wiig aren’t exactly a part of the May-December romance club there’s something terribly off about the relationship they are forced into just because the script from Michelle Morgan says so. Criss should be thankful for what Glee hath wrought because there’s no way he’ll be able to carry the weight of a full picture based on his weak and unconvincing performance here.
The movie reeks of low-budget not only in the incredibly uneven supporting performances but in the overall look of the film. Directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini manage to make both New York City and Atlantic City look like ugly, tacky, dreary places to live thanks to poor lighting and boring scene set-ups. Add to that an ending that seems to have been edited in from a totally different film and you have a movie most likely to make you want your money back.
As the movie wears on your patience will wear thin as Wiig can’t manage to do anything with this role to get the audience anywhere near her side. There’s something to be said about making a character that’s unlikable relatable but there’s no meat to the character for Wiig to sink her talented teeth into…so what’s left is a battered carcass that’s not very nice to look at. Skip it and rent Young Adult instead.