15th Oct2013

‘Girl Most Likely’ Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Darren Criss, Christopher Fitzgerald, Natasha Lyonne, Bob Balaban | Written by Michelle Morgan | Directed by Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini

Girl-Most-Likely-UK-Poster

Imogene is a failed New York playwright awkwardly navigating the transition from Next Big Thing to Last Year’s News. After both her career and relationship hit the skids, she’s forced to make the humiliating move back home to New Jersey with her eccentric mother and younger brother. Adding further insult to injury, there’s a strange man sleeping in her old bedroom and an even stranger man sleeping in her mother’s bed. Through it all, Imogene eventually realizes that as part of her rebuilding process she must finally come to love and accept both her family and her Jersey roots if she’s ever going to be stable enough to get the hell away from them.

Girl Most Likely is a comedy-drama directed by the team of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, who were behind the Harvey Pekar biopic American Splendor from 2003. The cast is fairly strong with Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) playing the lead role of Imogene, a socialite who finds herself “down on her luck” and ends up staying back in her New Jersey home.

She returns home to her mother, played with zest by Annette Bening (American Beauty), who is dating a younger man who claims to work for the “CIA” (Matt Dillon – Crash) and her younger brother, Ralph, who has a room filled with crabs and is not exactly “socially gifted”. The addition of a young tenant, played by Darren Criss (Glee), allows us to see Imogene struggle with her situation and in turn find friendship in an unlikely place.

The story isn’t a deep one but it doesn’t tend to rely on the typical plot that many “girl struggling with life” films tend to. Wiig does an admirable job, as do the rest of the cast, though there are times when certain scenes feel congested and too-long, and characters unfortunately border on stereotypes.

It feels a lot like an indie-drama, with the score, the setting and the performances all feeling a little “Woody Allen lite” at times. It does seem like a film that doesn’t entirely know what it’s trying to be, one moment it’s a tender drama and the next it is bordering on slap-stick comedy, which makes it feel disjointed and a little aimless.

The characters are mostly likeable and the actors all do their best with the ingredients they have at their disposal. It’s hard to dislike a film like this because it’s warm, entertaining and does what it says on the tin. It isn’t going to break any ground or knock down any barriers though, but then again, so few films actually do.

One to give a try to, but don’t get your hopes up too high. Its like a comfy, stretched-out sweater, you enjoy wearing it and it keeps you warm but you don’t really want to be seen out of the house in it.

Girl Most Likely is out now at various cinemas across the UK.

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