Friday, February 12, 2021

Movie with Abe: Breaking News in Yuba County

Breaking News in Yuba County
Directed by Tate Taylor
Released February 12, 2021 (Theaters and Digital)

The idea of becoming famous is something that appeals to many. Those who feel like no one really knows who they are, even among their friends and family, can see a theoretical validation in being recognized by people they’ve never even met, plucking them from obscurity to become the center of attention. That process may take a long time and a lot of work, if it’s even possible, and trying to take shortcuts usually involves collateral damage or fleeting acknowledgment that can disappear as quickly as it appeared. Loneliness is the catalyst for craziness in “Breaking News in Yuba County,” which quirkily demonstrates how one mistruth can spiral incredibly out of control.

Sue Buttons (Allison Janney) doesn’t feel seen. It’s her birthday, and no one noticed. When she goes to confront her husband, Karl (Matthew Modine), and demand a fancy dinner out, she discovers that he is having an affair. When she walks in on him having sex with Leah (Bridget Everett), he dies of an apparent heart attack. Rather than report it, she decides to use it as a way for people to finally notice her, claiming that it was a kidnapping. Little does she know that Karl was indeed involved with a ring of criminals led by Mr. Kim (Keong Sim) and his daughter Mina (Awkwafina). Sue’s invented story also brings in her reporter sister Nancy (Mila Kunis), Karl’s brother Petey (Jimmi Simpson), an impatient detective (Regina Hall), and a number of other characters from each of their worlds.

This film boasts a truly remarkable ensemble, which, in addition to the already-mentioned talent, includes Juliette Lewis, Wanda Sykes, Clifton Collins Jr., and Samira Wiley. None of the parts aside from Janney’s are so prominent, and as a result it feels like a true cast effort where each role is just as important to the whole, even if multiple characters at first feel tangential to the overall story. Everyone seems to be having a good time, well-cast for their parts though none of them are particularly challenging to play. At times it feels like they’re all in different unconnected vignettes, and that’s probably because the whole is considerably messier than the parts.

It might be most accurate to use director Tate Taylor’s two most prominent past films to illustrate where this one falls. The actors involved and their abilities is reminiscent of “The Help,” while the story structure looks more like “The Girl on the Train,” which is not a good thing. This film tends to go broad when it might have done better reining in its more eyebrow-raising moments, and it also includes a good deal of extreme violence that feels out of place and extraneous. That’s not to suggest that this film isn’t entertaining, which it is, but rather that its strong assembly of talent could presumably have been put to slightly better and more sophisticated use.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reminded me Breaking Bad...