Starring: Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell, Tim Roth
Director: Paco Cabezas
Running Time: 95 mins
Mr. Right is an American film about a woman down on her luck in romance who stumbles across a spark of excitement in her life: a hitman on the run.
For a film that should have been a bit of harmless, throwaway fun, Mr. Right is actually quite a lot darker than it at first seems. Despite a happy-go-luck lead turn from Anna Kendrick, the film descends into a convoluted mess of light-hearted romantic comedy and more intense action and crime, and alongside an often incomprehensible story, it’s a film that’s far from easy to sit back and enjoy.
But let’s start, briefly, with the positives. As I said, Anna Kendrick is the standout, with a bright and smiley performance that works well with the film’s lighter romantic comedy, but also is the only thing about it that blends in effectively with the darker side, with Kendrick’s relentlessly smiley turn taking on an unsettling and more sinister side as the film strays into a more action and crime-oriented story.
The rest of the movie, however, is a poorly balanced tightrope walk between simpler, easy-going humour and a desire to change the game with a story that brings more intensity to the table as well. It’s not a purely ridiculous action-comedy like 21 Jump Street, yet it’s also not as stylish and cool as the likes of Get Smart.
Instead, it flounders about as it attempts to bring hard, often violent action and international crime into the sphere of a typical romantic comedy, and vice versa. Now, that’s praiseworthy in the sense that it’s something different, but it really doesn’t work in the way that the film wants, instead coming across as two very different films stuck together in the most awkward of marriages.
If the two genres were even slightly more separated, Mr. Right could have been a far easier watch, bouncing back and forth between the surprisingly intense action sequences and some good respite in the form of simple romantic comedy.
But as simple and frankly uninteresting as the romantic comedy is, so excessive is the action. For what should be a simple, throwaway action comedy, Mr. Right goes way overboard with its action, featuring long, drawn-out shootout sequences, and violence that’s quite a lot more gruesome and graphic than what it really ought to be.
It’s nothing shocking, but in similar fashion to another recent action comedy, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, the violence here is just a little much for the more light-hearted atmosphere, and even more so when directly juxtaposed with simple romantic comedy.
In short, Mr. Right isn’t the genre-breaking, dark rom-com it really wants to be, and its failure to achieve that is a consistent point of frustration right the way through. It may have the odd bright spot here and there, particularly in the form of the lead turn from Anna Kendrick, but in general, it’s a convoluted and painfully messy watch, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.0 overall.