Scott takes a look at the new action comedy Mr. Right, starring Sam Rockwell, Ann Kendrick and Tim Roth, available now on VOD.
Sam Rockwell has been the best thing in some mediocre films (Charlie’s Angels, Matchstick Men, Poltergeist), and he’s also been the best thing in some very good, and even great, films (The Green Mile, Moon, The Way Way Back). Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air, Pitch Perfect) is like a sexier Meg Ryan, made for the 21st century iteration of the romantic comedy genre. Throw in a script from the writer of American Ultra, and Mr. Right promises to be a charming, funny film with the occasional action thrill. And while it does have a measure of each of those qualities, Mr. Right doesn’t quite rise to the level of entertainment that its roster of talent promises.
Francis (Sam Rockwell) is a hitman with a Special Forces background. He’s light on his feet and looks like he’s dancing when he engages in hand-to-hand combat. He’s like Gene Kelly with a gun. He’s grown disillusioned with killing people as a profession and now dedicates himself to killing the people who hire him to kill people. Martha (Anna Kendrick) is the kind of person who takes twenty selfies in her lingerie, but can’t bring herself to use any of them because none of them look casual enough.
When Martha catches her husband with another woman, she decides she needs an adventure, something to break her out of her uptight existence and her self-pity. During a night on the town, Martha and Francis cross paths and quickly become inseparable. There’s just one problem: Martha doesn’t understand that all of Francis’ little asides about being a hitman and running from disgruntled members of organized crime are true.
Hopper (Tim Roth) is the sole survivor of an attempt by a New Jersey crime family to take out Francis for his two-timing ways. He had the good sense to understand he was outgunned even if it was five heavily-armed henchmen against one Francis. Posing as an FBI agent, Hopper uses the resources of the federal government to track down Francis with the hopes of eliminating him. Does Martha get caught in the crossfire? Does Francis want to get out of the game and begin a life with his new love?
If you’ve watched just a handful of romantic action comedies in your life, you know the answer to all of these questions. However, the effortless charm of Rockwell and Kendrick together on screen provides for a pleasant ninety minutes despite a convoluted plot and predictable denouement. We’ve all said “I could watch (blank) read the phonebook”, or “I could watch (blank) make out a grocery list.” Mr. Right is a film that will test those types of sayings. If you feel that way about Mr. Rockwell, Ms. Kendrick or the prospect of the two of them together, then you will find your time well spent on this romantic comedy.
If you’re a moviegoer who has grown tired of the “meet cute” and other tropes of the rom-com, you will be pleased to know that Mr. Right features numerous scenes of hand-to-hand fighting that have better choreography and are better shot than many summer action tentpoles. Maybe someone should send a copy of Mr. Right to Zack Snyder (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice) before he shoots and edits another high-profile action sequence. Although these moments are exciting, they also cause the tone of Mr. Right to careen from bloody action film to wacky comedy and back again. If that sounds like your idea of fun, then you may find that Mr. Right is worth a look.
The Movie Isle
Scott Phillips holds a degree in print journalism from the University of Georgia and is currently a member of the Georgia Film Critics Association (GAFCA). In addition to his role as a correspondent for Timed Edition, Scott serves as the Executive Editor and Senior Writer for themovieisle.com. From 2013 through 2017, he reviewed films for filmdispenser.com. Along with his duties as a critic, Scott serves as the Content Programmer for the Way Down Film Festival held in Columbus, Georgia every fall.