Spanish director Pablo Cabezas (Neon Flesh, The Appeared) has carved out a career helming reasonably entertaining B-movie genre pics and crime thrillers. Teaming up with with hip screenwriter Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra) on Mr. Right, the pair have delivered a jumbled attempt at quirky indie-cool, combining Tarantino inspired violence, hyperbolic dialogue and edgy modern rom-com with mostly unconvincing results. Despite boasting a hugely appealing cast featuring Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick in the lead roles, this hit man yarn is an overblown misfire.
Kendrick plays Martha McKay, a manic but amiable flake on the verge of becoming an unhinged loon after a succession of catastrophic relationships. When she stumbles upon Francis (Rockwell), in a convenience store one day, they immediately hit it off and it appears that her unlucky run may have finally come to an end. All is going swimmingly until she discovers what he does for a living. Francis is a hit man, albeit one with an unusual work ethic. Instead of killing the people that he has been paid to knock off, he is assassinating the people who hired him as he has come to the conclusion that ‘murder is wrong’. This moral crusade has landed him in hot water and on the run from a motley crew of undesirables, with former colleague Hopper (Tim Roth) leading the chase. Martha is left to make a decision whether to flee for her life or stick by her new beau as the bullets begin to fly.
This film throws too many ingredients into the mix and ends up a tonally uneven, schizophrenic mess. Kendrick’s character arc is particularly problematic. Jumps from cute girl next door flimsiness to borderline homicidal psychopath are sloppily handled and off putting in their extremity. One slow motion scene where she discovers Matrix style powers is especially groan inducing. The cast provide some enjoyable moments nevertheless. The eccentric coupling of Rockwell and Kendrick is sporadically engaging despite the dubious script. The pair ooze charisma and muster up a definite chemistry. Tim Roth delivers an effectively laconic performance while decent support is provided by RZA as a wily assassin and James Ransone is fun in a role which comically echoes his turn as gangster wannabe Ziggy from season 2 of The Wire.
Watching Mr. Right reminded me of another off-beat indie hit man comedy, Grosse Pointe Blank. While that film was perfectly pitched, cleverly written and and blessed with a subtle charm, Cabezas’ film is sadly lacking in comparison. This is a clumsily executed calamity which suffers from shifts in tone and genre that never quite gel in a coherent manner. The plot is unconvincing and the characters are altogether too quirky, unbalanced and implausible for their own good. Worth seeing for the decent cast but overall disappointing.