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Film review: Mr. Right – Anna Kendrick, Sam Rockwell in rom-com with a murderous twist

The onscreen chemistry between hitman Rockwell and Kendrick, who puts in an unhinged performance as his lover, saves this from being just another postmodern crime caper

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2016, 1:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2016, 1:03pm

3/5 stars

Following the success of superhero film Chronicle and last year’s American Ultra , screenwriter Max Landis turns in another oddball action rom-com with Mr. Right, directed by Paco Cabezas. Anna Kendrick plays an emotionally damaged young woman who believes she’s found the perfect man in Sam Rockwell’s charming stranger, only to discover he’s a hitman.

The running gag is that Rockwell’s unnamed assassin is going through something of an existential crisis, and as a form of self-prescribed therapy is completely honest with Martha (Kendrick) about his profession. His recent change of heart has his former employers, led by a snarling Tim Roth, gunning for him, while Martha believes he’s just joking around.

Although this same material was covered with great wit and charm in Grosse Pointe Blank almost 20 years ago, Mr. Right is not without its moments. Rockwell is perfectly cast as the fast-talking, affable anti-hero, but it’s Kendrick’s unhinged performance that steals the show. Reeling from a particularly ugly break-up, Martha is desperate to lash out at someone. So when she discovers the truth about her new man’s profession, she gleefully takes up arms alongside him.

Decisions like this, coupled with the undeniable chemistry between Rockwell and Kendrick, save the project from being just another post-modern crime caper. Elsewhere there’s a memorable turn from the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA as a disgruntled henchman, and some surprisingly graphic action to counterbalance the romance. So, while too self-aware to eclipse the films of the ’90s to which it is so clearly indebted, Mr. Right still manages to scratch the same itch.

Mr. Right opens on October 13

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