Wiig glams up to play an ugly duckling in 'Girl Most Likely'
“Girl Most Likely” is a comedy from Kristen Wiig's alternate universe career — the career she might have had without “Bridesmaids.”
A daft, thin and instantly forgettable farce about a woman of once-great promise who fakes a suicide attempt to hang on to a beau who is bailing on her, it's the sort of movie that has its Manhattan heroine turn out to be from New Jersey — as if that's all it takes for hilarity to ensue. It relies on Wiig's charms, Matt Dillon's wackiness and lot of examples of that favorite crutch of underwhelming romantic comedy directors — cute time-lapse montages set to pop music.
Imogene (Wiig) is a blurb writer for the arts section of a New York magazine. It's not exactly where she saw herself 10 years ago, when her student play was winning acclaim and her future seemed bright.
And then she's fired from that blurb gig. Good thing she has her beau (Brian Petsos) to lean on. Only she doesn't. He's dumping her. Getting dolled up, writing a note and taking sleeping pills on the hope that he will be the one to discover and save her doesn't work out, either. The hospital promptly “sentences” her to be taken home by her estranged mother.
Annette Bening is Zelda, the blowsy, brassy Ocean City mom Imogene so wanted to escape. We quickly understand why.
Zelda's living with a blowhard (Matt Dillon) who whispers to one and all that he's a CIA hitman. And they're all sharing the rattletrap house with Imogene's special-needs brother (Christopher Fitzgerald). Imogone's old room? Zelda rented it out to hunky, young club entertainer Lee (Darren Criss of “Glee”).
“Girl Most Likely” tracks Imogene's flailing attempts to hang onto her wealthier, shallower New York mean-girl friends, her tentative attraction to the supportive Lee and her efforts to make sense of a life that had so much promise and went so wrong.
Wiig does this ugly-duckling-who-doesn't-think-she-deserves-the-guy thing well. But usually, she dresses down so much we believe her ordinariness. In this film, she's wearing Bullock-level makeup in every shot, even when she's trapped wearing her “old” '90s clothes, because that's all Imogene can find in the house she grew up in.
There's an engaging connection with her brother. And Dillon is an old hand at this sort of clueless, comical creep.
But co-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (“American Splendor,” “The Extra Man”) never find the right balance between pathos and farce. And they compound their frustration at this by hurling pop-music montages to try and put a head on this flatter-than-flat beer.
Roger Moore is a movie critic for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- DVD reviews: ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie,’ ‘No Escape’ and ‘American Ultra’
- Holidays offer the gift of plenty of new films
- Review: ‘McQueen’ takes a look under hood of a legend
- Review: ‘The Assassin’ is a visual knockout set in ancient China
- Review: ‘Wonders’ more about mood than the plot
- Former editor hopes ‘Spotlight’ gives newspapers a boost