They're calling it a dark comedy, but it certainly isn't funny.
More like the desperate, leaning in to the absurd.
Cassie (Rosemary DeWitt) is caught in one of those upside-down
situations where she can't win. She
and her husband bought a house, back in the boom days of 2005, in sunny
Arizona, complete with pool in the back and a nearby golf course soon to
be built. Then comes the
economic bust. Many people who
shouldn't have been given house loans in the first place defaulted.
Home values plummeted. People were underwater on their
mortgages---they owed more on their house than they could sell it for, if
they could find a buyer at all. People
didn't have the reserves to bail themselves out.
Cassie's suburb is now pretty much abandoned.
The houses are all in foreclosure.
She's still trying to work for the real estate company that sold
her the house in the first place, putting on her best happy face and
optimistic outlook, when all the time she's fielding threatening calls
from her own bill collectors. Her
husband left her for another (younger) woman.
Their daughter doesn't like being away from her friends, and plays
the sullen adolescent enough to wear Cassie down.
What else could go wrong?
Never ask that question. Cassie's
late to work at the real estate office because she has to take her
daughter to school. Her boss
is giving her a hard time about it, when she gets another one of those
nasty phone calls from the collection agency, which she's trying to deal
with while her boss is arguing with a disgruntled client, Sonny (Danny
McBride). The argument
escalates, and before Cassie can say “Man Overboard!,” Sonny has
tussled her boss right over the railing and on to the parking lot below,
where he's obviously dead.
Sonny is sorry Cassie saw that, because now he's going to have to
take Cassie home with him until he figures out what to do.
No, he doesn't want to call the police.
He's in a custody battle with his ex for his two kids, and he
doesn't want to jeapordize those proceedings.
So he ties up Cassie with duct tape, but then speaks reasonably to
her, as if they're going to figure this thing out together.
Then his ex-wife shows up.
Well, you can see how it all goes straight downhill.
Let's see, there's a nosy neighbor, an uncaring guard at the gate
entrance, a trigger-happy sheriff, Cassie's ex and his new girlfriend,,
the sullen, pouty teenage daughter----an altogether stumblebum crew where
even the chase scenes look ridiculous (Cassie's now jumping fences in a
skirt, boots, and bra?).
Well, at least the violence, though personal, feels staged enough
where we aren't cringing too badly (except with the poor dog).
It's the kind of movie where everything that can go wrong will.
And that sometimes feels a little too real for comfort.