Mr. Right begs the question that few romantic comedies have dared to ask: What happens when two sociopaths fall in love?
This weird flick is a wildly offbeat love story that, after the screening, I hadn’t made my mind up about. My opinion is like the movie itself — back and forth, up and down, side to side, constantly moving.
Martha (Anna Kendrick) is a 20-something girl who you can tell right off the bat is the anti-leading lady — she’s quirky, she’s frenetic, she’s just a little bit nuts. After a particularly embarrassing break up, Martha meets her anti-leading man, Francis (Sam Rockwell). The two embark on a whirlwind romance that includes hot dogs, dancing, sangria and inappropriately monogrammed t-shirts.
But what Martha soon finds out is that Francis isn’t just a goofball in a terrible Hawaiian shirt — he’s a goofball in a clown nose who kills people for a living. But he’s not cut-and-dry evil — he’s a vigilante of sorts, only killing the people who hire him to kill people. Stay with me, people. Basically, he’s a hitman with a heart. A twisted and mildly psychotic heart, but a heart nonetheless. The rest of the movie involves the two of them evading cops, mobsters, and murderers, all while Martha decides whether she can handle her new beau’s unorthodox profession.
Directed by Paco Cabezas, Mr. Right has a certain supercool cheesiness to it, like Snatch meets Charlie’s Angels meets any chick flick with pre-McConnaisance Matthew McConaughey in it. The look, the feel, the tone, the choreography of the scenes all evoke a real sense of lightness and fun. I also really dug the music choices, which very much added to that tongue-in-cheek, whimsical tone (anything featuring Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” will make me happy).
But what made the movie so much cooler was its star: Sam Rockwell. There’s a fluidity and a musicality to Sam’s acting — even when he’s not dancing (and he dances a lot), it still seems like he’s dancing. Whether he’s fighting, eating, walking, or simply talking, he’s got rhythm. He’s a natural mover, if that makes any sense.
He also plays the part of the cheeky oddball, who happens to be one of the most skilled and feared hitmen on the planet, to absolute perfection. Sam is an actor who’s figured out the exact type of role that works for him and he (figuratively) kills it every time.
On the other hand, Anna Kendrick, an actress whom I normally really like, was less charming. She was shrill and screechy to an almost frantic degree. I also just couldn’t get a grasp on who she was as a character — first, she’s staunchly and morally opposed to Francis’ deeds, the next she’s expertly dodging gunfire and knives without batting an eyelash. There’s a bipolarity there that didn’t make sense.
Despite the few lapses in believability, everyone involved in this project — from the director, to the writers, to all of the actors — looked like they were just having a really good time from start to finish. And that’s pretty infectious. I got the impression that Sam and Anna truly like each other too, which is a very important ingredient in a romantic comedy. You can’t often fake that kind of chemistry and sense of play. In addition, all the supporting players were clearly having a ball — I particularly enjoyed RZA‘s cameo as “Shotgun” Steve, a hilariously snarky hitman just looking to get a better gun.
OK, after having written this review, I’ve decided that I think I like this movie. Yes, it’s cheesy and ridiculous and far-fetched but it’s a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously — and that scores major points in my book. If you go into this having removed all logical thinking from your mind, then Mr. Right is a completely original flick that will leaving you smiling (and dancing) long after you’ve left the theater.