A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Girl Most Likely is a dramedy that's heavier on the comedy than the drama, though the plotlines are pretty heavy and include an attempted suicide (faked), a nervous breakdown, parental abandonment, and the like. Expect some colorful language (mostly "s--t" and "hell"), heavy drinking and drunkenness, and some scenes showing couples making out heavily, as well as plenty of innuendo. There's also some gun violence; it's mostly played for laughs, but shots are fired.
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What's the story?
Imogene (Kristen Wiig) was once a promising playwright. But she squandered her opportunities by being fabulous and fabulously dressed in New York and getting hung up on "belonging" to the upper-crust New York City milieu. So when her affluent boyfriend (Brian Petsos) dumps her, it's no surprise that Imogene is lost. There are no other options besides Ocean City, New Jersey, where her flashy and eccentric (not to mention self-centered) mother (Annette Bening) is still living with Imogene's smart and sweet younger brother (Christopher Fitzgerald) and a mysterious new boyfriend everyone calls Bousche (Matt Dillon). There's also a new boarder (Darren Criss) ensconced in Imogene's old bedroom.
Is it any good?
Good cast, great lead, robust material -- you'd think it would be a winner, but GIRL MOST LIKELY is a disappointment. It takes a premise that promises wit and bite and turns it into tepid mush. Imogene as an outsider desperate to be part of a world that only pretends to accept her is a plotline that offers so many routes to self-discovery, but the filmmakers punted, opting instead on the most obvious of paths. (There appears to be no other way to reinvention but to spit in the face of what you've become and tap into your old self. Not exactly groundbreaking stuff here.)
Wiig is kinetic and emotive. An arched eyebrow can convey both despair and a knowing laugh. Too bad she's written as a paint-by-numbers "snobby" person. The characterizations are so obvious that you're clubbed on the head with them. Criss is cute, but he and Wiig share little chemistry. Bening is woefully underused as Imogene's mom, and Dillon is hilarious, but to what end? It's as if the filmmakers couldn't decide what the movie was supposed to be, exactly. The quirks are piled onto serious pathos, leaving the film in a tonally muddled spot. Girl Most Likely is as its title suggests: a film looking for an identity, much like the titular girl.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the blend of comedy and drama in Girl Most Likely. Why isn't this a straight-up comedy? What defines "dramedy"? Does the combo of light and heavy tone work in this movie?
What's the possible downside of making light of serious issues like suicide and heavy drinking? Do you feel like watching these elements on the screen influences any decisions you might make?
Do the characters feel realistic/believable? What about the situations they find themselves in?
- In theaters: July 19, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: November 5, 2013
- Cast: Annette Bening, Kristen Wiig, Matt Dillon
- Directors: Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman
- Studios: Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual content and language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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