Published Oct 03, 2013Humdrum: that's not the way I hoped to describe Kristen Wiig's sophomore effort as one of the leading ladies of comedy. It's not that Girl Most Likely isn't funny at all — the laugh count is above average — it's more a matter of a boring and clichéd story given a stylistically inert treatment.
This puts the burden of bringing the funny entirely on the cast, including the very capable Wiig (Bridesmaids), Annette Benning and Matt Dillon, but the script is too self-series to permit much in the way of improvisation to liven up tired jokes that rely on nostalgic, late '90's meme-slinging (oh look, the Backstreet Boys!) and awkwardly specific phrasing to fish for laughs. Compounding the lacklustre funny bone stimulation is a contrived plot that's at odds with its moral.
She of the title, Imogene, is a playwright hiding from her ambitions in a dispiriting career as a PR blurb-writer while pathetically pining for a snobby and arrogant ex-boyfriend who matches her petty delusions of entitlement. Not to mention, her vapid dilettante friends, who measure self-worth in a handbag and a tax-deductible donation to a fashionable cause.
At the nadir of self-respect, she fakes a suicide attempt in a desperate last-ditch effort to get his attention. Even lousing that up, she's put into her gambling-addict mother's custody (Benning) for 72 hours. We meet Imogene's socially awkward, reclusive, crustacean-obsessed brother (the "afraid to face the outside" world metaphor is pretty blunt), the generically handsome young man renting her childhood bedroom (Glee's Darren Criss) and her mother's kooky, truth-stretching boyfriend (Dillon).
A predictable formula unfolds from here: romance blossoms, glib life lessons about taking risks are learned and serviceable bits of random humour attempt to distract from convenient plot devices and moral hypocrisy. If this movie is honestly saying that the ticket to desirability is fame, Imogene is either more misanthropic than I'm giving it credit for (and if that's the case, it's just not clever) or a pretty ugly piece of status quo-enforcing celebrity fantasy fodder.
Neither argument makes it an especially funny or thoughtful experience, but it'll most likely be playing on a plane sometime and there are worse ways to pass the time — like watching anything starring Kevin James. (Voltage)