Friday, July 19, 2013

Girl Most Likely (2013)

Directed by: Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini
Cast: Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Darren Criss, Natasha Lyonne, June Diane Raphael

Review by James Colt Harrison

Kristen Wiig has made quite a name for herself on television, delighting audiences with her unique brand of comedy. She’s now expanding her talents to include motion pictures. Screenwriter  Michelle Morgan has tailored the script to Wiig’s unique delivery and acting style.

Wiig’s character is a young woman who has a talent for writing. She grew up in a middle class home on the Jersey Shore with mom Annette Bening. Her background is extremely humble, but the literary scene in New York is more tempting and she wholeheartedly makes efforts to join it. She has had some minor success and feels she has what it takes to become a good writer. She has one problem, however, that does not speed her career along. Her confidence is shot and she struggles with her lack of ambition. Wiig can make depression look funny as well as sad. She does that in scenes that make you laugh at her predicament and then you are in tears worrying over her failures.

Someone you do not want to smack is Annette Bening as Wiig’s modern mother. Her every appearance on screen is a light beam of joy and talent personified. Ms. Bening has been nominated for an Oscar® and should have a dozen of them on her mantle. As the mother, she’s addicted to gambling and playing the field with much younger men. Matt Dillon shows up in her bed, and it’s apparent he’s her current “boy-toy” who also helps put a smile on Bening’s animated face. Wiig is not exactly surprised, but she doesn’t approve of mom acting like a teen-ager.

Lots of laughs here with Dillon, who usually plays a dim bulb. He’s still handsome and built, so it is no mystery as to why Bening’s character feels she has to add him to her collection. This reviewer has always liked Dillon and feels he deserves bigger and more comedy parts in the future. It’s those great big black olives for eyes that endear him to audiences and make you want to ask, ”Is there anybody home?”

Glee star Darren Criss adds some youth to the film as Lee. He’s renting Wiig’s old bedroom at the beach cottage. He brings additional male beauty to the household, a commodity sorely needed in Wiig’s disintegrating life. In order to take advantage of Criss’ musical abilities, he works at a dive nightclub in town. With every song he sings and dance he performs, Criss lights up the screen and may have to take Gene Kelly’s place in the movies---he’s that good.

The film is a breath of fresh ocean air in this summer of blockbusters. It may not be the funniest or the most clever comedy this year, but it is a welcome look at a family that may have more, and funnier, problems than ourselves.

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