Starring: Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick
Directed By: Paco Cabezas
Synopsis: A young woman begins a relationship with odd, but lovable man who just so happens to be an assassin-for-hire.
Final Grade: C+
Recommended For Those Who Like: American Ultra, Seven Psychopaths, Grosse Point Blank
Hit the jump for the full review
Positives: Mr. Right plays by its own rules. It forces audiences to accept that in this world, while people may look like normal human beings, they simply are not. Mr. Right essentially creates its own universe where “crazy” has a very specific definition, and then exploits said definition to squeeze out as much fun as possible at breakneck speed throughout the film. For audiences willing to go along for the ride—where the rules of physics and logic are not merely bent, but broken at will—there are laughs and enjoyment to be had amidst the silliness.
Conducting this orchestra of craziness is Sam Rockwell, a playful assassin who has developed his own code of ethics after deciding to leave his previous employer. Rockwell literally dances his way through the movie and openly discusses his profession as one would the weather. The consistent energy Rockwell provides Mr. Right with keeps the whole affair truly engaging in a way that really shouldn’t work, but does. The charm he exudes is contagious, his actions and one-liners are so zany, it’s hard not to keep actively watching, wondering what he’ll do next.
Negatives: While Mr. Right can mostly rely on Rockwell’s antics to keep the entertainment level up, his costar, Anna Kendrick, holds the film back. Kendrick plays a young woman who seems a bit unhinged, but why is never fully explained. Her character has …well an “arc” may be too generous…a transition, but her trajectory is an unstable roller coaster of emotions and severe reactions that gets tiresome and frustrating. The core premise is that Kendrick is just as unstable as Rockwell, which is why their romantic relationship should work, but whereas the latter is endearing, her character’s rash inconsistency is just plain odd.
Mr. Right is also quite sloppy in several places. To start, the plot is heavily convoluted, with minor characters’ intentions left purposely confusing. While it all comes together at the end, the plot holes are unnecessarily massive. Furthermore, while RZA and Tim Roth as other assassins for hire are quite entertaining, their purpose in the film is almost non-existent. Finally, can someone please teach new directors that the most egregious sin of set design is shooting a sequence “in the rain” when the sun is shining brilliantly, casting shadows everywhere. It’s distracting—if it’s not raining the day you want to shoot, ask how necessary rain is to the climatic end battle scene rather than force the weather.
Overall: Mr. Right surprises with a quirky Sam Rockwell delivering a comedic performance by engrossing himself in his ridiculous character. If viewers can subscribe to what Mr. Right is selling, there’s enough fun to help overcome the film’s other shortfalls.
Final Grade: C+
Trivia: Tim Roth’s character mentions “the Ultra program”. Max Landis also wrote American Ultra.