Life is full of disappointments and the bedraggled heroine in Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s sweet-yet-slight comedy has suffered her ample share.
Feted as a promising playwright, Imogene (Kristen Wiig) squandered the money attached to a prestigious annual award and now wrings out the last drops of her creative juices to pen five-line blurbs for forthcoming Broadway shows.
Her relationship with workaholic boyfriend Peter (Brian Petsos) is stagnating and her coterie of well-to-do female friends - Dara (June Diane Raphael), Georgina (Michelle Morgan), Hannah (Mickey Sumner), Sloane (Elizabeth Inghram) - repeatedly remind Imogene of her humble origins. “She’s from New Jersey,” sneers one in pity.
In short, Imogene is a crisis waiting to happen.
And happen it does when she loses Peter and her job in quick succession, followed by a faked suicide attempt, which reunites Imogene with her errant, gambling addicted mother Zelda (Annette Bening) at her hospital bedside.
“Will you be willing to accept responsibility for the wellbeing of your daughter for the next 72 hours?” the doctor asks Zelda.
Thus Imogene returns to her ramshackle childhood home, where handsome aspiring actor Lee (Darren Criss) is now renting her bedroom and her eccentric brother Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald) is still fixated on crustaceans and shelled reptiles.
Adding to Imogene’s woes, her mother has a new boyfriend called The Bousche (Matt Dillon), who claims to have a shadowy secret past within the CIA.
Determined to return to her social circle in Manhattan, Imogene slowly puts her life back in order while dealing with the deep wounds of losing her old man at an early age.
“He was the George Clooney of fathers,” she recalls dreamily.
Scripted by Michelle Morgan, Girl Most Likely is a coming of middle age comedy that trades heavily in cliches and familiarity.
Wiig, who was Oscar nominated for her script for Bridesmaids, is a gifted actress and can make the dullest lines seems amusing.
Here, she has meagre raw materials to work with, alternating between ungrateful and whiny until her heroine’s obligatory catharsis and redemption in the eyes of the people she truly loves.
Bening essays an appealing ditzy mom, who has coped as best she can raising two kids on her own while Fitzgerald brings innate likeability to his painfully shy sibling, whose wacky design for a human-sized tortoiseshell sanctuary is unexpectedly useful in a dire emergency
The romantic subplot between Wiig and Criss simmers but never truly comes to the boil.
A plot twist we see coming a mile off threatens to propel the film along an interesting tangent but Morgan’s script goes nowhere interesting with the additional characters.
Life is indeed full of disappointments and regrettably, in spite of fleeting charm and top calibre on-screen talent, Girl Most Likely is one of them.
:: SWEARING :: SEX :: VIOLENCE :: RATING: 5/10
Released: September 27 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas), 103 mins