Even Kristen Wiig grates in ‘Girl Most Likely’
BY RICHARD ROEPER Sun-Times Columnist July 18, 2013 9:00PM
Imogene (Kristen Wiig) inexplicably bonds with her mother’s boarder (Darren Criss) in “Girl Most Likely.”
‘GIRL MOST LIKELY’ ★½
Imogene Kristen Wiig
Zelda Annette Bening
George Matt Dillon
Lee Darren Criss
Roadside Attractions presents a film directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Written by Michelle Morgan. Running time: 103 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for language and sexual content). Opening Friday at local theaters.
Updated: August 20, 2013 6:11AM
We’re still going to do this?
We’re still going to get movies about the smart and lovable but insanely insecure single gal in New York City whose life falls completely apart because her narcissistic idiot of a boyfriend dumps her?
We’re going to endure another movie in which the single gal’s cartoonishly snooty girlfriends drop her like a fake Fendi bag because she’s going through some tough times?
Oh, yes. And we’re only about 5 percent of the way through our slog through the swamp of clichés that is “Girl Most Likely,” a forgettable movie with a forgettable title about forgettable characters I’d just as soon as forget.
This feels like something a “Miss Congeniality”-era Sandra Bullock would have considered and then said, “Nah, too obvious and broad and tries too hard even for me, and I’m ‘Miss Congeniality’-era Sandra Bullock!”
You know you’re in your trouble when the prologue kid-version of your main character is a precocious, thoroughly unlikable diva. Why do we want to see a story about the grown-up version of THIS person?
The usually irresistible Kristen Wiig plays Imogene, who lives with the aforementioned pretty-boy jerk and works as a blurb writer for a magazine.
Imogene’s job, we’re told, is to write five-sentence descriptions of plays. Indeed such assignments exist, but if that’s the entirety of your job, you have a really good job.
That Imogene concocts a fake suicide attempt, complete with pills by her side and a carefully crafted note, just to get the ex-boyfriend’s attention does not endear her to us. The botched hoax leads to a trip to the hospital, where Imogene is remanded to the care of her estranged mother Zelda — and look out, here comes Annette Bening, working the garish outfits and the “Joisy” accent like nobody’s business.
The broke and broken Imogene has no choice but to move back home to Ocean City, where Zelda lives with her boyfriend (Matt Dillon), a lout who claims to be CIA and says his name is “George Boosh”; Imogene’s seemingly mentally challenged brother Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald), who is obsessed with crustaceans, and a boarder named Lee (Darren Criss), who sings in a Backstreet Boys cover band.
And oh, yeah, there’s a whole thing about Imogene’s dead dad, whom she always idolized.
Let the wacky hijinks begin!
As directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (who gave us the great “American Splendor”), “Girl Most Likely” at times has as an indie feel, as if the writers and directors were going for a “Little Miss Sunshine” vibe. The problem is a script that never leaves an obvious joke unturned or a predictable plot point unexplored, and a talented group of actors who seem to be missing the mark as a team.
Nobody in this cast — and I mean nobody with more than one or two speaking lines — should feel great about their work in this film. Even Wiig, who is as appealing an actress as there is in movies today, seems lost in trying to play a character who just doesn’t seem particularly smart or kind or sympathetic, even though of course we have to believe she’s smart and kind and sympathetic or what’s the point in a film such as this?
Weird things happen in this movie. The brother has created a protective suit inspired by the shell of a mollusk. Imogene and the hunky Backstreet Boy impersonator develop a bond that never, ever feels real. We get one of the stranger and least effective end-of-movie cameos I’ve ever seen. The mystery of Imogene’s missing father is played out in clunky fashion with no payoff.
Nothing to see here. It’s supposed to be light comedy, but this is grim stuff.