Saturday, March 17, 2018

SXSW with Abe: Most Likely to Murder

I’m so excited to be attending the film festival at South by Southwest for the first time, and I’ll be posting reviews throughout the week as I see as many movies as possible!

Most Likely to Murder
Directed by Dan Gregor
Narrative Spotlight

Adam Pally, Rachel Bloom, and Vincent Kartheiser star in the film

Superlatives are a staple of school dances and graduations, predicting the futures of students who will undoubtedly be doing very different things years from that point. Most are usually optimistic and positive, though some have a negative slant because they assume that little will have changed with geographical relocation and emotional growth not guaranteed occurrences for everyone. It’s most difficult to predict what those who have a miserable time in high school, tormented by their peers even and especially if they’ve done nothing to deserve it, will go on to accomplish once they’re free of the confines of an immature social structure dominated by cool kids.

Producer-star Doug Mand and director Dan Gregor discuss the film

Billy (Adam Pally) is not doing particularly well for himself, working shifts at a Las Vegas club that find him cleaning the bathroom far more than interacting with the bigwigs who he’d love to meet to get his own business going. When his parents announce that they are retiring and moving, he returns to his Long Island hometown to pack up his things. While some things are the same, like his friendship with Duane (Doug Mand), his high school girlfriend Kara (Rachel Bloom) couldn’t be less recognizable, having moved on from her partying ways. Jealous that she is dating Lowell (Vincent Kartheiser), the neighbor Billy tormented throughout high school, Billy becomes convinced that Lowell has killed his mother and seeks to prove it to reluctant cop and former classmate Perkins (John Reynolds) and win Kara back.

Cast and crew discuss the film

This is not a sophisticated movie, but that’s not what it’s trying to be. It’s a comedy first and foremost, with a bit of suspenseful music mixed in every once in a while to heighten the mystery, which it doesn’t take too seriously. Billy still behaves like a teenager, drinking hard and being petty about everything, especially when his friends call Lowell sweet and urge him to stop picking on him. It does make for some good laughs and very funny scenes, but this isn’t really a parody of a thriller about a killer across the street, just a comedy featuring a murder subplot driving its hapless main character.

Adam Pally and Rachel Bloom discuss the film

Pally, familiar to most for his role on “Happy Endings,” is typically committed to playing a self-centered oaf who almost manages to become sympathetic over the course of the film before repeatedly revealing his lasting immaturity. Bloom, creator and star of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” isn’t given all that much to do that allows her to demonstrate her talents but works with what she has as best as she can. Kartheiser is perfectly cast and plays his part exactly as he should. This film is funny but not the hilarious hit it could have been, settling for sappy and uncreative sentiments where more potential existed.


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