There are some movies that, no matter how bad they are, we excuse everything (or at least WAY more than we should) because of the cast. Mr. Right, which stars bonafide treasures Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick, should be one of these movies. We should be able to look past pretty much anything to watch these two, right? And boy, do they try to get us to. They know what we want here. Sam Rockwell dances in the first three minutes, and continues to do so multiple times throughout the movie. He even has a whole bunch of dance-fights, complete with dodging knives through splits. And Anna Kendrick has her quirk/sailor-mouth/good hair game turned up to 11. So what could make THAT movie unwatchable? The fact that it literally has nothing else going for it. Worse, it’s constantly, actively working against itself and that one thing it has going for it.
Mr. Right is reminiscent of some truly great movies. In it, Sam Rockwell plays— well, actually it’s like a thing that we don’t know his name for a while, so I’ll just call him Sam Rockwell. Which seems fine because so much of the movie seemed to have the thought process of “What should we, as writer (Max Fucking Landis) and director (Paco Cabezas) do with this character/moment/entire runtime? I don’t know let’s cast Sam Rockwell, have him be charming and shifty and call it a day.” Anyway, Sam Rockwell is a hitman who gets a sudden moral compass, leading him to Dexter out anyone who tries to hire him to kill someone. He sees Anna Kendrick in a drugstore and immediately falls in love, somehow manages to make her risk getting “serial killed” by a weird stranger, and start hanging out with him. Kendrick, for her part, plays Martha, the most manic of pixies who also is totally uptight, I guess, because they keep telling us she is. She expresses herself through t-shirts and is actively trying to make some bad choices following a breakup. Again, there are a lot of things I’m willing to overlook for these two. Their unacknowledged 17-year age difference? Fine. The lack of anything but chemistry? Sure. But this script and uneven, lazy directing style takes two actors we love, pours a thick layer of sugary quirk on top, and won’t stop insisting on force-feeding for the whole 90 minutes. I love Anna Kendrick, I really do. But I’ve never seen her do such a by-the-numbers impression of a character before. Her entire performance felt like someone told her to do her best imitation of Natalie Portman in Garden State, not realizing that this wasn’t a bad SNL sketch about an overly-enthused, too-pretty-to-be-sad, non-functioning, no-filter adult woman. Just look at this poster:
He has a clown nose! She has cat ears! What’s not to love? LOVE IT OR ELSE! = The entire movie.
So we have Rockwell on the run, trying to bond with Martha, while also avoiding the rival hitman who’s trying to kill him (Tim Roth). Does that sound like Grosse Pointe Blank? You bet it does. That’s one of those great movies it’s reminiscent of. (True Romance also comes to mind.) In fact, the best thing I can say about Mr. Right (besides maybe the fight-dancing) is that it made me want to watch Grosse Pointe Blank, which I then did. Immediately. So thank you, terrible movie, for reminding me about a great movie that exists.
I suppose there was also a nice bit of introspection that came with this film, since all the movies this reminded me of were ones I was obsessed with in high school. So I did spend a lot of the movie wondering if I would have liked it as a teenager. Turns out, nope. This movie may be derivative of some ’90s favorites, and it may have current cast members we love, but none of that adds up to anything worth watching.
Mr. Right is currently on VOD. Please don’t bring this garbage into your home.