Movie review: Wiig plays ugly duckling in 'Girl Most Likely'

MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICEJuly 19, 2013 

imogene03.JPG

Kristen Wiig tries to find success years after high school.

  • GIRL MOST LIKELY

    ••

    Rated: PG-13 for sexual content and language. Starring: Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon. Director: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini. Running time: 103 minutes. Theaters: Edwards 22 in Boise.

"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 - 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 directors.

Imogene (Wiig) is a blurb writer for a New York magazine. 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 mother.

Annette Bening is the blowsy, brassy mom Imogene so wanted to escape. We understand why when mother Zelda leaves Imogene sleeping in the car so Zelda can hit the casino on the way home.

Zelda is living with a blowhard (Matt Dillon) who whispers to one and all that he's a CIA hitman.

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. Her Imogene never lets us believe she's as unhinged as she claims to be.

Co-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini ("American Splendor") never find the right balance between pathos and farce. And they compound their frustration at this by hurling pop-music montages to try to put a head on this flat beer.

Whatever their other gifts, they cannot find the fizz here. They never get Wiig to commit to the sort of film that she, even when she was making it, must have realized was beneath her in her post-"Bridesmaids" glory.

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