Monday, July 22, 2013

Girl Most Likely (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Girl Most Likely

"Girl Most Likely" ? Really? Here we have a  new film by Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman, the promising and usually edgy team behind the excellent and quirky "American Splendor". The earlier film is wonderfully crafted with a punchy mixture of animated scenes and live action about the misanthropic and ruffled mature comic artist Harvey Pekar.  If you get a chance, see it.

Now in this film,  we have a lark in the style of Jason Reitman's "Young Adult". A thirty-something writer Imogene (Kristen Wiig) is lost and adrift. Her generic beau (Brian Petsos)  who has all the personality of a cell phone breaks up with her without sympathy. Imogene goes bonkers. She messes up her apartment and her hair, flailing on the bed in a supposed attempt at suicide. We have seen such histrionics before (sans suicide) in "Bridget Jones's Diary".

Here, Wiig caterwauls carries on and makes faces and it just isn't all that interesting or funny.
The hospital demands that she be in the custody of her selfish and nervous wreck of a mom (Annette Bening). Imogene again screams and yelps. They have to subdue her. She comes to in her mom's car at an Atlantic City casino and drags her mom out, still in her hospital gown. When she gets to the house, Imogene sees that her room is occupied by co-ed ne'er do wells and she has no where to sleep. Her mom has a macho slug of a boyfriend, a "George Boosh" (Matt Dillon) and her eccentric socially backward brother Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald) makes her a room made out of  sheets.

Come on.

Matt Dillon has all the comic charm of a sheet of white construction paper, while Christopher Fitzgerald's time on screen mostly consists of how silly he is with his obsession of hermit crabs. He makes a hard steel and fiberglass shell for humans to wear on their backs, but instead of anything poignant in his character, he is played for a mostly bland stooge.

I found Matt Dillon's role tacky and mean as he hits Ralph upside the head. In "Something About Mary" Dillon's character was a little offensive, but the his character was more zany and there is none of that here, where you chuckle in spite of all.

I wish I could meet Kristen Wiig half-way as I am a fan, but I can't. We get precious little variation in her role as she whines and chatters on. What scarce humor there is, comes from a few good turns from an inimitable Wiigian delivery and dry sarcasm but she is far too irritatingly shrill in this gallivant. You can sense a bland "Layer Cake" style baddie a mile before he actually occurs, but before that, the normally compelling Bob Balaban appears as a father on sedatives who worries about soup and pilgrims.
The biggest disappointment in "Girl Most Likely" is that you never get any sense of the characters. They seem drawn from sitcom coloring books. It's hard for me to admit, but this is watered down Wiig at best.

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