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The Wrong Missy
Review by Rich Cline |
dir Tyler Spindel
scr Chris Pappas, Kevin Barnett
prd Kevin Grady, Allen Covert, Judit Maull
with David Spade, Lauren Lapkus, Nick Swardson, Geoff Pierson, Jackie Sandler, Molly Sims, Sarah Chalke, Chris Witaske, Rob Schneider, Joe "Roman Reigns" Anoai, Jorge Garcia, Vanilla Ice
release US/UK 13.May.20
20/US Netflix 1h29
A comedy of embarrassment, this romcom cycles through contrived plot points and squirm-inducing farce. While it's directed in that blandly vacant Hollywood style, the script's idea of humour is even more basic, relying on vulgarity and slapstick humiliation. At least the cast members dive in without hesitation. And when the film drops its guard, it's vaguely engaging, finding some character-based wit. But there's not nearly enough of it.
Set up by his grandmother, Tim (Spade) meets inappropriate prankster Melissa (Lapkus) for a disastrous blind date. Three months later he makes a romantic connection with the super-hot Melissa (Sims). But Tim confuses the two contacts in his phone, developing a phone-chat relationship with the wrong Missy, and he only realises his mistake after she joins him on a work retreat in Hawaii with new CEO Winstone (Pierson). To make matters worse, Tim's ex-fiancee Julia (Chalke) is also there with her new boyfriend (Witaske). So the retreat becomes far more momentous than anyone expected.
The narrative is full of holes, starting with the basic fact that crazy Missy couldn't use sexy Missy' plane ticket. And physical gags are exaggerated to the point that they'd result in death, which isn't very funny. Meanwhile, the adult-oriented gags are so absurd that teen boys will find them juvenile. In other words, the actors and filmmakers strain so hard for each joke that they smother it before the punchline. There's also the problem that Spade has three women chasing him.
While he's adept at playing the straight guy in ridiculous situations, it's a problem that, at age 55, Spade is miscast as a young man looking for love and in need of self-discovery. By contrast, Lapkus is so clownishly over-the-top that she never registers as an actual human being. Her "blabalanche" is insufferable. A few side characters are realistic enough to connect with (like the underused Chalke), but most are relentlessly overplayed, including another vile extended cameo from Schneider.
There's a decent idea here, and the location is gorgeous, but this movie is relentlessly annoying on every level. It's brisk and energetic, but there isn't a single moment that generates a belly-laugh. And the rampantly inane approach undermines even the more original romantic comedy elements. All of this makes the sudden final-act tonal shift feel painfully artificial, especially as it comes with a pushy dose of schmaltz. So even as a bit of sunny escapism, it leaves a bad taste.
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© 2020 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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