I just happened upon and watched the 2015 film Mr. Right, written by Max Landis, directed by Paco Cabezas, and starring the absolutely amazing chameleon Sam Rockwell as Francis and his T-Rex sweetheart, Martha, as played by the delightful Anna Kendrick.
A Pitch Perfect reference (Anna Kendrick) might erroneously suggest comparison of that film with this one, which would be a mistake. Mr. Right is Sleepless In Seattle meets Kill Bill. Now, having said that, there is plenty of room to enjoy the two in an entertainment realm that continues to explore ever more often and with success the light-hearted and endearing merged with the dark, dangerous and repulsive, a la Tarantino, of which the 2016 release, Deadpool, is a more recent and better-known example. As for Mr. Right, devotion to such as Pitch might preclude one from getting/enjoying the movie as it was/is intended, so I'll allow it as adjunct reference only so long as we can then allow for a Green Mile moon pie mention. Oeuvre-building should not be taken to imply audience cross-over for enjoyment or comparison but should leave that door open.
In Mr. Right, the good guy/bad guy flip-flopping of roles is as much the storyline of this film as is the time-honored “banging” of one bad guy after another. The shifting of the Venn diagrams that delineate Good and Bad is explored as roles, allegiances and promises are made and broken in quick and constant succession. The film fun lies in the illustrations of confusion and character development as the good/bad recipes change and move each caricature in first one direction, then another.
It's kinda like an Erving Goffman Frame within a Frame perspective, which helps track the shifting and morphing as the story progresses, even if in the end every character winds up just as who they started out to be, but with the layers peeled back. That Francis never lied about what he was up to and doing plays perfectly into the story’s game. Viewers are able to find their own resolution as it suits them and voila, it’s been a fun hour-and-a-half in Mr. Right Cinemaland. The consistent thread of Francis' good intentions endears him to us, and is heightened by his new love and devotion to Martha. Their sweet story is effectively interwoven with a bad guy vs worse bad guy narrative, where the dastardliness of the worst of the bad guys is offered up for our cringing pleasure, via smashing turtles talk to Cain vs Abel familial hatred themes. Mr. Right works to keep clear who "should" go, and true to classical cowboy/white knight form, the worst of the worst are snuffed out by the “less-bad” bad guys (Does that make them good?). New allegiances, formed equally quickly, kill off Mr. Pointless Hostility (the real “bad guy” in the story) and make way for gummi bear sharing and new alliances (and some Part 2 team building?). And despite all that bone crunching, it’s the flipping of each scene on a nano-dime that is the real action in Mr Right.
All of the bad/less bad of this film works thanks to the stark, 21st c story-telling style that allows for a superiorly flawed and gloriously wacky human condition. “We” get to posses both sides, and in droves. And that love story? While some might pooh-pooh its predictability, it grabs and holds us by our chemical-level positive reactions to any such story. I love Mr. Right for its fantastical, almost fairy-tale like context. The Grimm Brothers, eloquent, progressive renegade scholars of their day and publishers of some of the darkest stuff out there, would have loved this one.
Mr. Right is a graphic mashup that utilizes a just-right amount of tech to highlight split second film fun, and its humor, of both the dark n sweet varieties, alongside that undeniable chemistry between its lead actors, made for one of the most fun viewing surprises I have had in a long time.
photo by kimann