Film Review: Girl Most Likely

2Directed by Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini
Starring Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening & Matt Dillon

Kristen Wiig stars as Imogene a talented playwright from New Jersey who won an illustrious commission to write a new play but instead moves to Manhattan and blows the money on living the life of a New York socialite and doesn’t write a word. As soon as her money runs out, so do her fake friends and posh Dutch boyfriend, heavily in denial, Imogene uses her skill for drama to stage an elaborate fake suicide as an appeal for his sympathy. But her attempt backfires when she’s put into the custody of Zelda (Bening), her estranged gambling addict mother, and is dragged kicking and screaming back to the Jersey shore.

Imogene must finally deal with her family, including her Man-Child brother (Christopher Fitzgerald), her Mum’s quirky supposed C.I.A., New Age Samurai new boyfriend who’s code named ‘The Bousche‘ (Matt Dillon), plus a cute young lodger (Darren Criss),who together help Imogene sort out her place in the world.

So far so Garden State, but unlike Zach Braff‘s movie, Girl Most Likely really suffers from a confused script which kind of works as a character piece but fails to form an engaging narrative.Instead, it’s a giant mess of IndieWood whimsical cliches and low key humour.

Still, Wiig, like every one of her movie roles, is a gifted comic presence and has the knack to infuse any role however underwritten with likability. The same can also be said for Bening and Dillon who really have fun with their one-dimensional and cartoonish roles. Glee‘s Darren Criss, who plays Lee, Wiig‘s love interest, does his best with a bland role.

Screenwriter Michelle Morgan really missed a trick with Lee, who is essentially the male equivalent of the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ that you get in this type of movie, whether it’s Portman in Garden State, Dunst in Elizabethtown or, if you want to really go back, Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby. It’s the zany, exciting love interest who teaches the sad sack dude to Man Up because Life is amazing. Sadly Criss’ character lacks personality and totally falls flat living up to or even subverting that trope.

A talented cast do their best to lift a movie made heavy with trite eccentricity and a meandering narrative. It’s not a complete write-off, Dillon is wonderfully hammy as the cartoonish CIA man and Wiig throws out the odd hilarious improvised quip which makes you wonder why they didn’t throw out her entire dialogue (like Favreau did with the  first Iron Man movie) and let Wiig, like Imogene, figure out where she should go.

2/5

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