Are girls on a mission to out-gross guys?
Ever since “The Hangover” came out in 2009, a crop of women-aimed buddy comedies have sought to prove that you don’t need a Y chromosome to be flippin’ disgusting.
Sometimes that brand of humor works, such as in the “Bridesmaids” food-poisoning scene, or when Tiffany Haddish gets hot and heavy with a grapefruit in “Girls Trip.” But those fantastic films were written and acted by some of our greatest comedic talents.
Suffice to say, writer Ellen Rapoport is no Kristen Wiig. Nothing is very funny in her new movie “Desperados,” but plenty is yucky and/or moronic.
While on a boat in Mexico, a dolphin’s excited phallus slaps the main character, Wesley (Nasim Pedrad), in the face. At the hotel, she drops her pink vibrating sex toy only to have a young boy excitedly pick it up. It’s the blight of sophistication!
Wesley is the sort of affable loser who brings up masturbation at a Catholic school guidance-counselor job interview and can’t find a man. See? She can’t even guide herself. Hardy-har-har.
After she gets a hottie named Jared (Robbie Amell) in bed, he doesn’t call her back. So, in a drunken furor with her friends Brooke (Anna Camp) and Kaylie (Sarah Burns), Wesley sends a cruel breakup email mocking Jared’s dead dad and the size of his manhood.
But, uh oh, it turns out he was simply in a Mexican hospital recovering after an accident — not ghosting her. Not wanting to lose her stud, Wesley and her two sidekicks head south of the border to find and delete the offending email.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because there was a similar plot-line in “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” but that only lasted a few quick minutes. That’s an appropriate length because it was totally unbelievable, even in 1997, that a person could completely avoid their inbox for more than one day. Hitching a whole movie to a flimsy post doesn’t work.
The antics in Mexico are obvious — Wesley stumbles naked into the wrong hotel room and crashes a quinceañera with a failed blind date (Lamorne Morris) she runs into. There is a needless subplot when Brooke and Kaylie visit a Gwyneth Paltrow-esque lifestyle guru named Ángel de la Paz (Heather Graham), who insists she’s the real deal while they sit in a yurt.
As Wesley, Pedrad gives a processed-cheese performance with so little fluctuation in mood, facial expression, physicality and voice, you wish Austin Powers would expose her as a fem-bot.
Speaking of “The Spy Who Shagged Me,” it’s so nice to see Graham, who’s barely changed in 21 years. She was a shrewd pick to play a matcha-and-meditation type. And Camp, who’s such a delight as a Barden Bella in the “Pitch Perfect” film series, brings that same cutting personality here.
But such a comedy cannot depend solely on its supporting cast, especially when they’re tasked with lifting up subpar material. When “Desperados” attempts to find its emotional core at the end, with friendships and relationships strained by the not-so-excellent adventure, you won’t shed a tear.
We never wanted to see this vapid jerk find happiness. We merely wanted her to find a few good jokes.
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