Released: 13th May
Seen: 17th May
The Happy Madison film company logo might as well be the poop emoji for what it represents as a marker of quality. Every now and then they’ll release something decent, the corn kernel of their cinematic output that’s just overwhelmed by a monsoon of shit that spews out of that company like water from a fire hydrant. It’s almost like they’ve set a challenge to make the laziest comedies known to man and milk people’s love for a pack of former SNL bad boys as much as they can. Their films are also, effectively, creative excuses to go on long trips on company money to fancy locations where they can basically have a vacation between making what they claim is a movie. Since the end of 2015, shortly after the release of the infamously awful Pixels, every movie from Happy Madison is a Netflix exclusive but because Netflix doesn’t seem to have quality control, we get films like The Wrong Missy which are almost clinically designed to make me hate life itself.
The Wrong Missy follows Tim Morris (David Spade), a guy who exists that we are invited to care about but never do because he’s boring. He goes on a blind date with the crazy Missy (Lauren Lapkus) and ends up not liking her because… well, crazy. He then bumps into Melissa (Molly Sims) at an airport and ends up really falling for her so he tries to invite her to go with him to a work retreat in Hawaii but, oh no, shenanigans have happened and he accidentally invites the crazy Missy and because no one in this movie is in any way sane or rational and there’s no way to say “Oops, my bad, I didn’t mean to invite you because you look like you’re going to kill me and wear my skin as a fancy cape”, now Tim must navigate his work holiday in Hawaii with the wrong Missy. Oh, also Tim’s ex is on the island and at some point that’s meant to be relevant but it’s not even a little bit interesting but then again neither is anything else in the movie.
It takes a special kind of movie to make me long for one of the main characters to die before the title card pops up but The Wrong Missy is that kind of movie. Missy is that kind of character who you hate within 20 seconds of her appearing on screen. She’s basically Annie Wilkes if Annie Wilkes decided to give up murder and kidnapping for Lent, but still was obsessive and terrifying and had no semblance of self-control. I do give full props to Lauren Lapkus for being so game to take this role and go so extreme with it. She doesn’t hold back for a second and if she had been given good jokes or a character with some kind of arc then I could see this working but nope. Missy starts at a level 20 annoyance and never stops, it’s exhaustingly irritating.
The plot itself is so stock standard “I actually like this person who I started hating at the beginning” that the only interesting thing about it is that there is no hidden depth to the Missy character. Normally this kind of setup would lead to the revelation that behind all the screaming and bravado that Missy has some charm and warmth to her that makes Tom fall in love with her but because this film couldn’t even be bothered to do that, Missy never shows anything other than the worst sides of what we’re going to call her “Personality” because we’re being kind. There is no depth to any of the characters and thus, why am I meant to care about any of them? I’m not asking for much, but surely someone in the film could try to pick a character trait that isn’t “So annoying that I want to punch myself in the face until I pass out”
The only character who isn’t ‘Annoying’ might be David Spade’s character but his problem is that it is such horrible casting. David Spade works best when he’s a sarcastic asshole, always with a quip in his back pocket that he can throw out to people who he feels slighted by. There’s a reason his two most famous characters are Dennis Finch from Just Shoot Me and Kuzco from Emperor’s New Groove, both characters utilized the actor’s ability to be snarky and made him almost lovable even while he was just throwing out the most petulant barbs. Here? He’s just so boring, you could replace him with a human-shaped piece of drywall and you would get the same effect in the end. None of his lines are funny and I know for a fact David Spade can deliver a joke, I’ve been watching him do it for over 20 years but he doesn’t get a single laugh in this film.
Nothing got a laugh out of me, except maybe Vanilla Ice right at the end but that was only because I was in genuine shock that Vanilla Ice was this desperate for work. Partially this is just because I could never get a hold of what tone was the film going for. Was it a rom-com? A farce? A dark comedy? I don’t know, one minute they’re doing what I believe was meant to be witty banter and the next we have Missy recreating the scene where Homer Simpson jumped Springfield gorge… specifically, the part where he falls down the side of a cliff but he survives because he’s a cartoon character. Missy does that and survives… somehow. This kind of joke is never repeated again, for that to happen they would need to have some kind of tonal consistency and who needs that?
I don’t know how this company gets money to make movies, but I want to find out because somehow they get to make absolutely painful films and get paid for it. This film is just awful, though nowhere near the worst that this company has put out. Filled with one-note characters, a plot that’s thinner than the paper it was written on and dialogue that… uggh. I know we’re desperate for content right now but no one should be desperate enough to watch this. It’s bad, it’s annoying and you can find something better.