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Zoey Deutch Continues to Make a Name for Herself With ‘Buffaloed’

The ‘Set It Up’ star always lends intrigue and charisma to her female protagonists, and this should be no different.
Set It Up
By  · Published on July 24th, 2018

The ‘Set It Up’ star always lends intrigue and charisma to her female protagonists, and this should be no different.

When characterizing the career of rising star Zoey Deutch, “magnetic” is a word that should immediately come to mind. She steals the show no matter what movie she’s in and what character archetype she portrays, and her increasing presence in Hollywood suggests that filmmakers are making the correct decision to do right by her and keep her in the spotlight.

After the absolute delight that is Netflix’s Set It Up, I personally can not wait to see Deutch in Richard Says Goodbye — ignore Johnny Depp and focus on her instead. Moreover, she is a great addition to the stacked cast of Ryan Murphy’s Netflix upcoming comedy series The Politicians, which is due to also feature the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Barbra Streisand.

The latest scoop on Deutch’s future projects is that she will continue to expand her horizons with what seems to be another more complicated character. Deadline reports that she will star in and also produce the indie film Buffaloed.

The comedy-drama will be helmed by Tanya Wexler (Hysteria) from a script by Brian Sacca (co-creator of the web series Single Dads). The film’s premise is set against the backdrop of Buffalo, New York, wherein Deutch will play hustler Peg Dahl, a girl who would do anything to get out of her hometown. However, something goes afoul and Peg is soon left with insurmountable debt. Her dreams of escape seem dashed, and she decides to enter debt collecting in order to go up against the business’s shady inner circle.

Buffaloed already seems like a mashup of the ruthless entrepreneurial spirit found in Molly’s Game and the subtle undertones of millennial desperation that we witnessed in Set It Up. Sacca will make his big-screen writing debut with Buffaloed, but Wexler’s filmmaking has been noteworthy for its charm and wit. Hysteria is light-hearted and sarcastic enough to lift its story beyond period movie trappings. It pokes fun of a taboo topic in a good-natured way, which makes Wexler the perfect director for a project like Buffaloed.

The tone of Buffaloed could then be further balanced out by the presence of producers Lost City, who were behind Drake Doremus’ Newness. Doremus is best known for films that depict love and loss to varying degrees of heartbreak. Some of his movies can be overwhelming (Like Crazy) but others are emptier than I’d prefer (Breathe In). Nevertheless, Newness – a love story in the Internet age – showcases intimacy in an emotionally charged way.

The combination of the empathy of Newness with the levity of Wexler’s Hysteria would subsequently create the perfect actor’s playground for Deutch’s charismatic presence. As aforementioned, the young actress brings both undeniable allure and welcome naturalism to all of her roles, regardless of how ridiculous their premises may be. Vampire Academy wouldn’t have been half as entertaining in its blatantly tongue-in-cheek way without the chemistry present between Deutch and co-star Lucy Fry. Deutch also easily makes us sympathize with her when she’s on a melodramatic streak, and Before I Fall greatly emphasizes this.

In comparison, Set It Up tells a story that’s much more true-to-life, and it’s definitely the kind of film that lets Deutch shine the most. Deutch and co-lead Glen Powell are individual powerhouses who create layered performances out of stock romantic comedy characters. It’s also thanks to both actors’ pitch-perfect onscreen spark that many are hailing Set It Up as an important milestone for the modern-day rom-com.

And then there’s Flower, Max Winkler’s divisive comedy-drama that is actually most praiseworthy because of Deutch’s captivating lead performance. In fact, Flower and Buffaloed could potentially be of the same spirit. Both feature female protagonists who partake in questionable actions for some kind of greater good, be it for herself or someone she loves. On the surface, these particular leading women could probably sit nicely alongside each other in Deutch’s filmography as a collective “fuck you” to conventionality too.

However, Buffaloed really shouldn’t be quite as flighty, cruel, or reductive to its women as Flower is. Deutch gives it her all when portraying her character’s excessively taboo actions in Flower, which is more of a testament to her than to the film’s quality.

Regardless, Deutch is such an infectious talent and has elevated movies that don’t really deserve her. After all, she was the reason I didn’t turn off Dirty Grandpa. With Buffaloed, Deutch has the chance to continue building a worthy legacy, wherein her impeccable performances speak for themselves across multiple genres. She deserves to rule the screen.

Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)