For most action movies, the love story is something that must be tediously endured as padding to spread out the machine gun money shots. In Mr. Right, the loveably strange relationship at the center of the carnage is actually just as engaging as the balletic shootouts. Credit for that probably belongs to screenwriter Max Landis, a movie junkie with no less that four flicks set for release in 2015. He tried a similar trick in this summer’s American Ultra, which felt a little too tonally schizophrenic for its own good. Mr. Right on the other hand is somehow both a great rom-com and a wonderful action movie, often simultaneously. It’s strange to think that hasn’t happened before.
Anna Kendrick stars as a quirky girl who recently endured a particularly embarrassing breakup that’s left her in an odd state. Specifically, she’s wild and manic and desperate for change (or maybe she’s always been that way). Then there’s Sam Rockwell playing a nutty contract killer who likes to kill the people who hire him to teach them that murder is wrong and tends to dance his way through shootouts as if the movie’s soundtrack is playing privately in his head. They meet and fall in love pretty much instantly. He’s honest about his murderous profession right away and she lets it go thinking it’s a joke. But then when she discovers the truth, she might be just crazy enough to brush it off.
Kendrick and Rockwell are so ideally cast as manic goofballs and share such a wonderful chemistry together that’s it’s practically intoxicating to watch them on screen, whether they are lovin’ or killin’. Landis’ script gleefully bounces between romance and action with the same intensity, oddly never losing momentum no matter what genre it’s playiing in. Director Paco Cabezas shoots everything in blinding candy colors and fills the costumes/production design with the loveably tacky Americana of an ’80s Jonathan Demme movie. The result is a flick that feels like a cartoon even before the highly choreographed John Woo shootouts appear, so somehow even they feel like a coherent part of the whole. Toss in some delightful supporting turns like Tim Roth as a grizzled man who has tracked Rockwell for far too long and the RZA as a hilarious henchman with a heart of gold, and you’ve got a breathless bit of light entertainment with something that should please pretty well any viewer for at least a few scenes.
SEP 19, 6:30pm @ Princess Of Wales
SEP 19, 8:00pm @ Roy Thomson Hall
SEP 20, 12:00pm @ Ryerson