Girl Most Likely
One way of doing humor is the “pity me” format, famously perfected
by Charlie Chaplin. A sad sack
clown figure has all kinds of bad things happen to him, and we think it’s
funny because…..he’s charming? He’s
trying so hard? Because we enjoy
not being him? Because it makes us feel better to know that someone is
clumsier at life than we are? Because
we secretly like to laugh at the foibles of others?
In “Girl Most Likely,” Kristen Wiig plays Imogene, the girl who
used to be young and full of promise, even winning an award and a cash advance
for most likely future playwright. But
alas, she could never quite get around to writing the next big Broadway hit,
and she winds up trying to fit in with a bunch of snooty, catty, artsy
socialites who make fun of her behind her back.
She thinks of her live-in boyfriend, Peter as her “soul-mate,” and
she’s so devastated when he summarily dumps her that she turns into a
blithering, babbling blob, which gets her fired from her low-level
“this’ll do for now” job.
Depressed and off her moorings, she reluctantly returns home to Ocean
City, New Jersey, only to find that her weird aging hippie Mom, Zelda (Annette
Bening), has gone Cougar on her and taken on a live-in, George (Matt Dillon)
who’s more Imogene’s age, but worse, he pretends he’s a secret
government agent, and uses that transparent subterfuge as a cover for extended
unexplained absences, and an excuse for being a terminal slacker.
Imogene’s brother, Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald), is not all there,
but sweet. He’s always lived at
home, and never been out of
. He’s always been interested
in mollusks, and runs a small booth outside the Boardwalk that specializes in
pet snails and clams. Needless to
say, he’s not overwhelmed with business, but he does have a crush on the
lady in the next kiosk, who body paints with sparkles.
Imogene never wanted to return home to live, anyway, but especially now
that her room has been rented out, to a stranger named Lee (Darren Criss),
which means that Imogene’s old things are now unceremoniously stuffed in
cardboard boxes in the basement. Can
it get any worse for her? This is
like “hitting bottom” without an addiction to blame it on.
Since this is a “chick flick” written, directed, and produced by
women, you know we’re not going to see any strong, likable male figures, or
any nudity, or any violence, or any car chase scenes or explosions or CGI
special effects. What we are
going to see is some hard-earned character development.
Almost everyone changes for the better.
The hypocrites are exposed, and the meek inherit…if not the earth, at
least their little piece of happiness in it.
“Girl Most Likely” is advertised as a comedy, but it’s really a
coming-of-age film for thirty-something single slackers who’ve been waiting
for someone to come along and make them happy.
The message is: “that someone has to be you.”
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St.
Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,