Girl Most Likely review

Wiig stars as Imogene, the titular Girl Most Likely, a small-town New Jersey girl who won a playwriting grant, moved to New York, spent the money, didn’t write a play, and now works at a magazine... reviewing other peoples’ plays. As if the daily reminders of her unfulfilled promise weren’t insult enough, she soon manages to talk herself out of a job altogether.

When the very same day she is unceremoniously dumped by her borderline sociopathic boyfriend Peter (Petsos), she fakes a suicide attempt to get his attention. Funnily enough, all does not go exactly to plan and she finds herself released to the care of her obsessive compulsive, gambling addict mother Zelda (Bening). Snubbed by her supposed friends and without a cent to her name, she is forced to re-evaluate her choices, values and direction (or lack thereof).

Back in the family home she finds herself in trying company. Aside from her mother there’s her brother Ralph (Fitzgerald), a crab enthusiast who has built himself a bullet proof shell, complete with Wi-Fi and GPS. Not the greatest source of advice. Then there’s her mother’s boyfriend George (Dillon). His story is that he’s a CIA agent/time travelling samurai, who, conveniently, cannot divulge any details of his work. Another dubious authority. Reprieve of sorts is found in Lee (Criss), a lodger who is renting her old room. Having graduated from Yale he now works as the lead singer of a Back Street Boys tribute at a local casino. While you might not think that qualifies him as the best sounding board, Imogene soon realises he’s the best she’s got.

An unlikely source of salvation, Lee actually bridges the gap between her cold, disingenuous New York set and her wacky, misguided New Jersey family in that he is intelligent but unpretentious. The upshot of this simplistic small town/big city dichotomy, however, is that she never really learns anything along the way that shouldn’t have been painfully obvious from the outset. In New York she seems to have surrounded herself with selfish, vampiric caricatures of real people. No redeeming characteristics are showcased. They are characters without conflict whom Imogene could only have mistaken as friends by being too busy riding the wave of her own self importance. If blinded by ambition or aspiration, the only revelation forthcoming is that she has been hanging out with soulless snobs because she thought they were glamorous. This poses questions about Imogene, who, whilst amusing, is clearly the architect of her own downfall. Worse still, the characters in New York verge on one dimensional; the grudging refusal of her former doorman to let her back into her flat probably forms the most complex interaction with anyone from her former life.

On the whole, though, it’s an entertaining watch. It feels like something that got made off the back of Bridesmaids, and Wiig plays a fairly similar down-on-her-luck thirty-something on a detour from her ideal life. It’s not quite as funny or well plotted but Girl Most Likely provides a decent vehicle for Wiig’s talents. It’s very much in the “If you liked [insert name of successful film], you’ll love (read: be slightly less impressed by) [insert name of new film]!” category.

Girl Most Likely at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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