MRR Review: "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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MRR Review: "Girl Most Likely"

-- Rating: PG-13 (sexual content and language)
Length: 103 minutes
Release Date: July 18, 2013
Directed by: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Genre: Comedy/Drama

"Girl Most Likely" tells the story of Imogene, played by Kristen Wiig, who was once on top of the world as a New York City playwright. After years of fabricating her personality in order to fit in with high society, she simultaneously loses her job and gets dumped by her boyfriend, which prompts her to make a desperate move. A clumsy suicide attempt launched with the intention of winning back her beloved boyfriend results with her being placed in a hospital that ditches her into the custody of her mother who lives in Imogene's home town of Ocean City, New Jersey.

Imogene is suddenly thrust into a whimsical environment, although, her life situation is anything but funny. Her free-spirited mother, played by Annette Bening, has a problem with gambling and lives in a small home with her much-younger boyfriend, played by Matt Dillon. He claims to be a CIA agent; however, Imogene has her doubts about this. The other occupants in her childhood home include her freeloading brother, played by Christopher Fitzgerald, and a charming young guy named Lee (Darren Criss) who is renting her old bedroom. On the outside looking in, this situation would likely elicit laughs, but as Imogene contemplates her immediate state of affairs, the outlook appears depressing; she is in her thirties and lives with her mother; she is unemployed in a different state with a history as a failed writer; she knows no one in the city aside from her slightly deranged mother. Essentially, she is forced to rebuild her life from the ground up.

We get to watch as Imogene is forced to interact with people that she had hoped to leave behind for a life in the Big Apple. While it's humorous to watch as she has to interact with her socially stunted brother and her mother's delusional boyfriend as she attempts to stand on her own two feet and get her life back on track, the comedic moments are used to make the dramatic elements of the film easier to stomach.

The idea that preconceived notions hold people back from enjoying life as they should is a key theme of this film. Imogene's self-destruction was inevitable as she was trying to live a lifestyle she believed was ideal, rather than doing what truly made her happy in life. Year after year of having the false notions reinforced through her interactions with her colleagues and friends in New York ingrained an attitude that required an extreme culture shock to give her the ability to change.

In the beginning, Imogene resisted change and clung to her old beliefs as most people do. She felt as if she was a failure for not making it in New York, and she was depressed about what her life had become. While there is some truth to her beliefs regarding her life situation, she had to realize that she needed to leave her old beliefs behind and learn to follow her heart in order to achieve true success.

One of the key scenes in the movie where we notice a shift in Imogene's mentality is when she travels to Atlantic City with Lee, the roommate who is occupying her former room, to listen to him perform in a 1990s cover band. At first, she feels embarrassed for being in the audience. She also feels embarrassed for him-making a fool of himself without the self-awareness to realize it. During the performance we see an almost uncontrollable transformation as Imogene bobs her head to the music and loses her self to the moment.

This is the defining moment of her transformation. She realizes that Lee is actually a talented musician, even though his music doesn't fit into her old preconceived idea of what good music is. Not only is she enjoying his performance, there is an entire audience that is happy to hear him play. She realizes that he is a talented individual, and despite the fact he's renting a room in her mother's house, he has a gift to offer the world.

With this newfound realization, she discovers that she has something to offer the world as well, but she must discover what her calling in life is. However, with the chains of misconceptions and false ideals lifted off her shoulders, she finally has the ability to freely find her passion.

It's extremely difficult to create a dramatic comedy as one element will typically overpower the other. Berman and Pulcini worked hard to create "Girl Most Likely," which is a good effort at creating a deceivingly difficult type of movie.

Rating: 3 out of 5