Girl Most Likely
dir Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
scr Michelle Morgan
prd Mark Amin, Alix Madigan, Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler
with Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Darren Criss, Christopher Fitzgerald, Matt Dillon, Natasha Lyonne, June Diane Raphael, Brian Petsos, Bob Balaban, Nathan Corddry, Mickey Sumner, Murray Bartlett
release US 19.Jul.13, UK 26.Jul.13
12/US Lionsgate 1h43
Girl Most Likely
On the Jersey shore: Wiig and Criss

bening dillon lyonne
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Girl Most Likely A perfectly gauged performance by Wiig holds this ramshackle comedy-drama together, as she plays a woman forced to confront everything she has always hated about herself. There are some strong laugh-out-loud moments and surprisingly sexy scenes too. But the film comes dangerously close to tipping over into a farcical cartoon.

Once a rising-star playwright, Imogene (Wiig) has done nothing with the opportunity. And now she's lost her listings-editor job and her high-flier boyfriend (Petsos). When she fakes a suicide attempt to get his attention, a judge sends her to live with her free-spirited mother Zelda (Bening). There Imogene meets Zelda's toy boy George (Dillon), whose claim to be a super-spy seems rather far-fetched, and smart-sexy young lodger Lee (Criss) who's now renting her room. She also reconnects with her goofy-inventor brother Ralph (Fitzgerald). Then a family revelation makes her world spin.

Morgan's script strains so hard to be zany that it becomes impossible to believe. One problem is that Zelda isn't nearly as dim as she seems (Bening can't really play stupid), so the fact that she goes along with George's insane stories is ridiculous. Meanwhile, Ralph is the kind of character usually played by Zach Galifianakis: so bereft of social skills that he's never realistic, especially as his "simplicity" continually imparts "wisdom".

Amid all of this nuttiness, Wiig gives a startlingly brave performance. At the start, we see that she's only pretending to fit in with her slick Manhattan pals, including her shallow buddy Dara (Raphael). Wiig plays Imogene as a woman slightly out of control as she slips back into her trashy Jersey-girl ways, which adds raw honesty to all of her scenes. This also makes the most of her tenuous relationship with Lee, who's nicely played against type by Criss.

As directors, Berman and Pulcini have never quite lived up to the promise of 2003's American Splendor. Like The Extra Man, this film dares to veer off the beaten path with characters that aren't always likeable, even as it inserts every quirky-indie element imaginable. So as the story develops, its wacky comical touches begin to swamp Imogene's genuinely intriguing journey. But since it's Wiig at the centre, we can't help but care that she makes it through.

cert 12 themes, language, innuendo 12.Jun.13

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