Kristen Wiig is one of those one in a million comic talents. She doesn’t have to do anything funny, she just is funny. Even if you were to stare at her just sitting still and not really doing anything, it’s unlikely you’d be able to last for more than a few seconds without cracking a smile. We’ll call it the Chris Farley effect, and it’s the sort of thing that allows her to effortlessly elevate the material she’s delivering to heights it likely wouldn’t reach if handled by anyone else.
But can even a talent on the level of a Kristen Wiig help make the material that this trailer for her new film, Girl Most Likely, is serving up go down any smoother?
Not only has the story being told here—that of a broken protagonist who’s had trouble transitioning into adulthood having to move back in with the aloof parent who made them the way they are—become so overdone since the rise of the indie comedy that going through the motions with it again feels like eating re-re-heated leftovers, but the tone of the humor itself also seems to be a little too cheesy to swallow without experiencing pains afterward. Tacklings, screamings, spankings… a protagonist who goes from depressed, to exasperated, to awakened… an irresponsible parent who goes from negligent, to inappropriately sexual, to forgiven—the path this movie travels feels so familiar that we could take it in the dark without a map.
Girl Most Likely does have a few things going for it, even in addition to Wiig though. The directing team of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini have done good work before with American Splendor, Annette Bening is such a great actress that she’s bound to be able to do at least something interesting, even with a character this dumb and overused, and Matt Dillon always kills it when he gets to play a ridiculous weirdo. Perhaps Girl Most Likely is actually a good movie whose marketers just did a really great job of presenting it in a way that would allow it to pander to the brainless, broad audiences who only want to watch things that remind them of things they’ve already seen before? Let’s say that’s the case and give it a chance.