Film Reviews

Girl Most Likely, a Jersey-vs.-Manhattan Comedy

Less funny than her worst SNL sketch, Girl Most Likely strands Kristen Wiig in a dreadful, disingenuous city-vs.-suburbs comedy that mercilessly mocks New Jersey before turning around and celebrating its provincial trashiness over the hoity-toity snootiness of Manhattan.

Fired from her job and dumped by her boyfriend, once-promising playwright Imogene (Wiig) fakes a suicide attempt that lands her in the care of her casino-loving Ocean City mom (Annette Bening).

There, stuck living with her simpleton brother (Christopher Fitzgerald), Ralph, and her mother’s new beau (Matt Dillon) -- who claims to be a CIA agent and time-travelling samurai -- Imogene rants about her hometown before learning that her long-gone dad is actually alive, thus sparking a quest for reunion.

Wiig’s riffing falls flat, and her character’s journey of self-discovery, which also involves falling for a convenient hunk (Darren Criss), is composed of desperate gags, be it a round of drunken barroom dancing or Ralph donning a homemade, bullet-proof, human-size crab shell. It’s a humorless, regressive ode to staying true to your roots even if that means eschewing bigger, brighter horizons, replete with a recurring retro gag that -- alongside last month’s This Is the End -- confirms that, at least as ironic punchlines, the Backstreet Boys really are back.

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Nick Schager is a regular film contributor at Voice Media Group and its film partner, the Village Voice. VMG publications include LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Phoenix New Times, Miami New Times, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, Houston Press and Dallas Observer.