Kristen Wiig's new movie "Girl Most Likely" has reasons to succeed, but sadly the story is just too much of a mishmash to realize its potential.
Wiig plays Imogene, a Manhattanite who works at a magazine writing blurb copy. One of her jobs is to create synopses about Broadway plays, but the aspiring playwright ends up writing reviews. When she writes a particularly negative review about a classic musical, it's the last straw. She loses her job. Soon after, her European boyfriend (Imogene wants everyone to know he's Dutch), dumps her. It's all downward from here.
After desperate attempts to get him back, one which involves her being sent to a psych ward, Imogene is forced to move back to her family's home in New Jersey and that means dealing with her oddball mother, Zelda (Annette Bening), a compulsive gambler. When Imogene arrives home, she finds that Zelda has rented her room to a casino entertainer named Lee (Darren "Glee" Criss) and that also living in the house is her mother's younger boyfriend, George Bousche (Matt Dillon), a supposed C.I.A. operative. Toss into the mix Imogene's brother, Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald), who is obsessed with crustaceans and owns a kiosk on the boardwalk named Crabville, and it's a family cast for a segment of "Jerry Springer."
Directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini ("American Splendor"), the film's eccentricities get in the way of a meaningful tale. Michelle Morgan's screenplay vacillates between the story of a woman whose forced to reconnect with a family she had detached from to a mishmash of silly storylines that are hard to follow — Ralph creates a mollusk mimicking device that humans can wear and George Bousche maybe really be a spy. Huh?
Perhaps the most honest portrayals come from Wiig and Bening when they're trapped in the dysfunction of their volatile mother-daughter relationship. Wiig's Imogene, otherwise, is cut from the same character cloth as cupcake artist Annie in "Bridesmaids" and Dillon rehashes his Ted role "There's Something About Mary." Bening is worth spending time with, however, where she really proves that she can play comedy.
"Girl Most Likely" has a few payoffs here and there. The choice by the filmmakers to set the tone as an independent movie gives reason for its quirkiness, Bob Balaban showing up as a family member from Imogene's past, and a few good jokes now and again make the movie worthy, but overall there's a lack of substance.
This was a project Wiig had her eye on and as one of Hollywood's current "it girl" comics, she can have her pick of the litter. Here's hoping that her next endeavor makes her a girl most likely to have a box office hit. This one will probably have a short shelf life.