Mr. Right (2016)
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell, Tim Roth, James Ransone, Anson Mount, Michael Eklund, RZA
Directed by: Paco Cabezas
Written by: Max Landis
Rating: PG Running Time: 1 hr. 37 min
My guess is, writer, Max Landis and director, Paco Bacazas, were shooting for a quirky black comedy romance vibe with this film, like Grosse Pointe Blank meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith. But unlike those films (Grosse Point being a classic), Mr. Right only settles on the correct tone for very brief moments during the film, and wastes a whole lot of time reestablishing character traits as it plays out its ‘by the numbers’ feuding gangster family plot.
Its leads, Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell, work well together, and the best moments of the film come when their characters are finally in tune with the whole, ‘my boyfriend is a hitman’ bit. But to get to those moments, we have to slog through the clichéd gangster stuff, and patiently sit through a pointless subplot that follows Mr. Right’s ex-partner, Hopper (Tim Roth), who’s trying to rehabilitate his old friend and turn him back into a regular cold-hearted killer, instead of the vigilante he’s become.
Mr. Right also doesn’t really know what to do with Anna Kendrick’s character, Martha. During the first act, instead of setting her up as an offbeat and perhaps morally askew lunatic in need of the right hitman to inspire a new direction in her life. The film instead ops to deliver an idiotic brat-girl! Her drunken tantrums during the opening act after her latest failed relationship were not endearing, just annoying. And the selfish way her character treats her friends wasn’t cute, it was obnoxious.
If writer, Max Landis, had spent less time turning Martha into a whiny victim, and more time as a diamond badass in the rough, this film might have worked. We’d have a fun story about two violent, yet righteous misfits, taking out bad guys as they work on their relationship. What we get instead however, tries to flip romantic comedy clichés, and ultimately collapses because it has no clear sense of what it wants to be.
There are some genuine moments of quality in this film, but they’re buried under a lot of boring pointless nonsense. Keep your expectations low for this one. Mr. Right is rated R for violence and language.
Sam Rockwell is excellent in this role, and his dancing hitman routine really works well. If the creators of this film had set up the character Martha as more of his equal, and less of a damsel in distress, Mr. Right could have been something really special. Oh well.