Mid-way through, exactly 43 minutes into the film:
From the onset, I felt like ringing up Kristen Wiig and ranting at her. Thankfully/ unfortunately, I don’t have her number so I will rant on here instead. I loved Bridesmaids, it was witty, vulgar and even a little bit heart-warming at times. The main plotline was centred on female friendship and it also was a nice little screenshot of austerity era, where the heroine is unemployed and living with her mum (a storyline I personally know rather well) with no real resolution or happy ending on that front. It was the perfect modern comedy.
So I have always looked out for Kristen Wiig and began her movies with an open mind. This is probably why Girl Most Likely made me quite angry. Wiig plays Imogene, which is pronounced as an irritating, toe-curling “Eemojean” a woman who is so distraught by her Dutch boyfriend moving out of their apartment, she loses her job and fakes a suicide attempt, which sets up the premise of her having to move back in with her mum. Wiig pulls off that “suddenly down-and-out” look brilliantly, but I actually object to the comedy of the situation just described. I find that it’s just really, really sad that she pretends to pop pills for a boyfriend who doesn’t even show up to check she’s okay. Worse still, she dreams about him turning up and proposing, which apparently leads to marriage and babies Of course, as a woman, this is all Imogene really wants.
There are illusions to her amazing father and a fairly unsubtle theme of “home” that is forced down our throats pretty much constantly through the first half of the film. The first line is “There’s no place like home” for crying out loud. Her brother has a collection of snails and crabs because he’s jealous of their ability to carry their homes on their backs. The cop who remembers her (before arresting her) had wanted to take her to home-coming when they were teenagers.
Now, I can spot a set-up when I see one. The dodgy, unreasonable and floozy mum has had a tricky time bringing up Imogene and her brother as a single mother. The idealised father is going to turn out to be anything but. The home town isn’t going to be as terrible as she remembers it. Perhaps she’s going to pull some gusto out of her arse that she never even knew she had and a write an award-winning screen play. Almost definitely, she’s going to have a bit of a fling with that much younger, hunky lodger from Glee.
Now I’ve made my predictions, let’s see if I’m correct…
The end. Credits roll. Funky music is played:
Of course there is redemption. And I truthfully don’t mind that. I actually don’t want to haul out the spoilers so I’m not going to comment on what actually does happen in the second half. It didn’t surprise me, but I did end up quite enjoying it.
There are some splendid moments. I really appreciated the little witty details that really made up the film; Imogene having to dress in her eighties teenager clothes throughout; her brother’s obsession with crabs and the puns that arise from them; her face during the Backstreet Boys tribute act and the little echoes of this that follow later in the film.
I suppose by setting up the film with such an appalling premise, it provides room for it to be disproved. The heroine does get her happy ending, but it’s not the happy ending that she imagines for herself during her fake suicide fantasy. Good for her.
I have never written a review in two parts before and it does actually seem to be quite an interesting thing to do. By stopping in the middle to write this, I really managed to analyse the attitudes that I had at the beginning of the film and how they then developed. Obviously, I had a completely different impression of the movie half way through as I did at the end; it’s fascinating to see how a story can take you with it and in a way, provide you with a happy ending too (even if it is just not a negative opinion of what I’d just spent the last two hours of my life doing!)
I haven’t changed anything I wrote in the first half, apart from the normal proofread, so the predictions are those that were made at the time and I have not confirmed how they went either way. So feel free to watch it and see for yourself.