Dave's Rating:


How not to make an indie comedy.

Who's In It: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Steve Zahn, Mary Lynn Rajskub

The Basics: Two midwestern sisters with dead-end lives and man trouble decide to go into the crime-scene cleanup business. But these aren't just any two sisters--it's perky and cute Amy Adams and elegantly lovely Emily Blunt. So they're the prettiest, most adorable, quirky and winning multiple-slaying housemaids ever.

What's The Deal: Welcome to the Sundance Comedy Formula, where you can feel good and feel superior as you're almost laughing, waiting for the credits to finally roll. There's nothing here that audiences who are likely to run out on the opening weekend to movies like Little Miss Sunshine or Hamlet 2 haven't already sat through a dozen times or more and nothing to keep them from walking out either, save for turning it into a drinking game based on the indie movie cliches piling up like fresh kills in a horror film.

And Speaking Of Little Miss Sunshine: This movie needed to use that word in its title too? And there's a cruddy van? And the same guy playing the irascible older dad? And it's set in the unnamed Southwest? Did they edit out the child beauty pageant subplot because it felt too copycattish?

Miscasting 101: Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are wrong for this movie. They'll make sure the film has an audience. And they're bright young things that you want to look at and spend time with. And they're funny women. They're the reason you'll sit through this even as the I-miss-my-dead-momisms take over. But they're too Hollywood-ready to make you believe for one second that they'd have these kinds of drab, directionless lives in the first place. Minimal makeup is not the same as gritty realism.

Miscasting 201: Is named Alan Arkin. And yes, he's funny enough here. But you can squander the goodwill an Academy Award brings your way. Look at Nicolas Cage. The joke is always that when you win an Oscar for one movie the next batch of scripts that come your way are the same as the movie you won for. And you're not supposed to make those movies. Someone forgot to tell Arkin this.


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