Kristen Wiig stars as a sophisticated NYC woman who seems to have it all until her life literally crumbles into beach sand. Screenplay by Michelle Morgan starts with promise but then dumbs down after a false suicide attempt meant to engage the sympathies of her errant boyfriend becomes the excuse for authorities to return her “home” to the Jersey Shore. Total waste of time & talent 🙁
Seen by both of us & not recommended by either of us! Click HERE for our haiku.
Once upon a time, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (a husband/wife filmmaking team) came out of nowhere to write and direct American Splendor (a quirky little Indie based on graphic novels by Harvey Pekar and his wife Joyce Brabner). My husband Rich and I loved it, and at year end, it placed right at the top of our Twozies List for 2003. Most of our colleagues liked it too (American Splendor has a “94% Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes). American Splendor ended its theatrical run with a slew of awards (including an Oscar nomination in the Best Adapted Screenplay category shared by Berman and Pulcini), and I could hardly wait to see what they would do next.
Next came in 2007 with the theatrical release of The Nanny Diaries. Most of my colleagues hated it (RT Score = 33% SPLAT), but I fought really hard for it. I seem to remember I wrote NINE drafts of my review, each more passionate than the next, until I was finally ready to post “my take” on The Nanny Diaries and be done with it. But then came The Extra Man in 2010, and this time I could find nothing positive to say. I was so disheartened that I never even summoned the energy to post my diss in our FF2 Database…
And now along comes Girl Most Likely, which is so bad that I’m forced to wonder what I ever saw in Berman and Pulcini in the first place? If ever a film were a total waste of time, talent and energy, this it it.
Kristen Wiig, in her first leading role since the Bridesmaids Brouhaha, stars as “Imogene,” a young Manhattan fashionista who seems to have it all until “all” (fiance, friends, career) melts away beneath her, leaving her literally out on the streets of the cold, cruel city. Looking for sympathy, Imogene puts on her best undies, pops some pills, and fakes a suicide attempt. But since she has no health insurance, the hospital she lands in is determined to release her at the earliest possible opportunity. So they summon “Zelda” (Annette Bening), Imogene’s mother, to come fetch her daughter and take her off their hands. Doped up and trussed in the finest gown the Emergency Room staff has ready to hand, Imogene is shoved into Zelda’s car and hauled back to New Jersey “from whence she came.” Then, after a suitable number of predictable “life lessons” are learned, Imogene turns her back on Manhattan because, after all, “there’s no place like home.” Yech!
Michelle Morgan’s screenplay is a total mess. For the full 103 minute runtime, not a single believable character appears on screen to engage our interest let alone our sympathy. The people in Manhattan constitute one set of stereotypes and the people in New Jersey constitute another set and all are equally inane and overplayed. Wiig, forced to be the “straight man” in this grotesquerie, seems flat and off her game, as if she were still taking downer pills from the bottle placed so decorously on her Manhattan bedspread. Bening, on the other hand, lays it on thick, like she took her pills from the uppers bottle: too much Joisey accent, too much swing in her hips, too much too much.
I went into Girl Most Likely with high hopes. I came out deflated and distraught. My determination to play the role of “advocate for women filmmakers” always gets me to the theatre, but this time I urge you not to follow me in…
Top Photo: Kristen Wiig as “Imogene” in her New Jersey brights.
Bottom Photo: Imogene with her mother “Zelda” (Annette Bening).
Photo Credits: Nicole Rivelli/Roadside Attractions.