Director: Paco Cabezas
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell, Tim Roth, RZA
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From the opening scene, it is clear that the Max Landis-penned hitman comedy, Mr. Right, is gunning for quirk. It’s an anti-hero, anti-love love story in which an unpredictable lunatic finds himself drawn to a broken-hearted oddball, before they’re thrust into a mob-hit gone-wrong. That age-old tale.
Boasting Sam Rockwell (whose character is seemingly nameless) and Anna Kendrick (Martha) in ideal roles, the pair work well as the armed and dangerous star-cross’d lovers; Rockwell’s penchant for the peculiar and confident matches Kendrick’s joyful quick-thinking. The couple run the show with line after line of dialogue improved by their smartly fun delivery.
Out of the shadows and opposite the duo lands Tim Roth as Ed Hooper, a mysterious sociopath with some connection to Rockwell’s nameless hitman – a connection that leads Hooper to aim a lot of guns at him and his new love interest. Roth’s English bad guy also manages just enough snarled witticisms to keep him interesting, even if the character, on the whole, lacks the depth of a real bad guy – he is too busy being smug to hold any menace.
Beyond the principle cast and their comic timing, though, Mr. Right struggles with the execution of a rom-com that is more about guns than roses. An uneven tone, a plot with a serious taste for moral relativism, and a total lack of support for the stars means the film relies entirely on them to keep viewers’ attention. Any space not occupied by the talents of Kendrick, Rockwell and Roth is stuffed with clichéd henchman; any speech not immediately following a murder is a barrage of exposition. Mr. Right wants to be the anti-rom-com so badly, it dispenses with anything else.
While the leading roles keep the film watchable, it is tough to imagine that anyone who has seen Deadpool couldn’t guess the meandering nature of Mr. Right from the opening three minutes; the f-bomb-dropping superhero story is certainly everything Mr. Right is reaching for. Whether the fault lies with director Paco Cabezas for trying to bring an edge to an unimaginative comedy, or with Landis for the laziness in putting his ideas across, Mr. Right lives and dies on the fast-talking feet of its leading pair. Their perfectly crafted roles make the film tolerable, but as Rockwell’s relationship with RZA becomes the most interesting element of the piece, their romance falls short.
Mr. Right is available on Sky Cinema. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW TV, as part of a £11.99 Sky Cinema Month Pass subscription – with a 7-day free trial.
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