(director/writer: Nicol Paone; cinematographer: Neil Shapiro; editor: Julie Cohen; music: Jessica Weiss; cast: Malin Akerman (Molly), Kat Dennings (Abby), Jane Seymour (Helen), Jack Donnelly (Jeff), Aisha Tyler (Lauren), Ryan Hansen (Gunnar), Chelsea Peretti (Claire), Dean Cole (Dan), Andrew Santino (Rick), Christine Taylor (Brianne), Wanda Sykes (Fairy Gay Mother #2), Margaret Cho (Fairy Gay Mother #1), Fortune Feinster (Fairy Gay Mother #3); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Malin Akerman/Ben Stiller/Nicholas Weinstock/Haroon Salem; Red Hour Films,/Saban Films; 2020)
“An overcooked turkey.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The comic actress Nicol Paone’s directing debut is an overcooked turkey. It’s a benign sitcom with a slight story line that should have been funnier. Though it’s an easy enough dramedy to take it or leave it, set in Los Angeles’ suburbia among its eccentric Hollywood crowd.
Abby (Kat Dennings) has come out of the closet this year, but her lesbian relationship has ended on a sour note with a separation. She kvells to spend a traditional Thanksgiving with her recently-divorced actress best friend Molly (Malin Akerman), who has a cute infant son, a flirty ex-husband named Gunnar (Ryan Hansen) and a hot new shirtless boyfriend, Jeff (Jack Donnelly). But instead of a traditional holiday celebration craved, Molly ends up hosting a friendsgiving dinner attended by three psychedelic drug-induced fairy gay mothers (Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Fortune Feinster); her ideal married friends, Lauren and Dan (Aisha Tyler and Dean Cole), bringing psychedelic mushrooms to the party; her domineering cougar mother Helen (Jane Seymour), who flies in unexpectedly from Sweden; the questionably certified shaman Claire (Chelsea Peretti) and scores of Hollywood eccentrics Molly doesn’t know. It turns out that Lauren invites numerous eccentrics to the gathering Molly and never tells the hostess about. It results in a dysfunctional gathering with a few incidents meant to be distracting.
The film tries to mix comedy with a life lessons learned film about dealing with grief from loss in relationships. The central characters: Abby, who feels unprotected without her partner, and Molly, dealing with being a single mom after just getting out of a bad marriage, fight with each other and then make up.
I guess this message film tries to prove we all need supportive friends and to find our own contentment. The ineffective dramatics, poorly drawn forgettable bevy of characters and too many failed comedy bits, keep things messy. There’s not much that registered with me, except its bad pop muzak soundtrack from Cheesecake Factory.
REVIEWED ON 11/14/2020 GRADE: C