Craig's First Take: "Girl Most Likely"

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A failed New York playwright awkwardly navigates the transition from Next Big Thing to Last Year's News.
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In “Bridesmaid’s” Kristin Wiig was a woman trying to pick up the pieces of her life amid the wedding of a friend. In “Girl Most Likely”, she winds up playing a character trying to pick up the pieces of her life playing an actress who really needs to do a better job of picking screenplays. This is an unfortunate career detour and I assume she knows it.

She plays Imogene, a character who even as a girl is so much of a cynic that she even questions Dorothy’s decision to want to leave Oz for home during a school production of “Wizard of Oz”. It’s one of many obvious decisions Michelle Morgan takes with this screenplay, where Imogene suffers a nervous breakdown after being shunned by both her boyfriend and the NYC art society she wants to impress as a playwright.

After a fake suicide attempt, she is released to her irresponsible, gambling addict mother (Annette Benning) who she has despised since childhood and its back to her childhood home of Ocean Park, New Jersey where we will have to wait in vain for her to figure out that home is where the heart is and that the eccentrics in her family are just doing the best they can. It’s slow-going, mostly because Imogene is such a whiney presence stuck in her own state of self-pity, threatening to kill herself anytime she doesn't get what she wants, and refusing to even acknowledge the problems of other people.

As soon as Imogene is returned home, she finds that a sexy younger guy is renting-out her room (Darren Criss), her mom is dating a CIA agent (Matt Dillon) who goes by a fake name and needs to wear a rubber suit every time there’s lightning outside, her brother (Christopher Fitzgerald), who has some type of mental disorder, is still living there and building a giant rubber bug suit to protect himself, and that her father (Bob Balaban), who she thought died during a routine procedure, is actually alive and writing in NYC.

The screenplay shows its seams with these people, either there to conveniently serve as the inspirational force that encourages her to move on (Criss), the eccentrics who come off ridiculous before later being found to be merely misunderstood (Benning, Dillon, Fitzgerald), or to show that high society isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (Balaban). They never seem like characters, only tools.

Sporadically funny but never really all that compelling, neither Wiig or directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (“American Splendor”) can’t navigate away from a contrived and unlikable screenplay.