Sunday, September 16, 2012

TIFF 2012: Imogene

Imogene (U.S., 2012) directed by Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman, 130 minutes 
Sunday, September 16, 2012, 11.30a., Ryerson Theatre

Oh Kristin Wigg I love you so ... I wish this movie was better and more worthy of your comedic talents which are substantial.

Imogene is a comedy about an underdog (a situation where Wiig often flourishes - the most obvious example being the insuperable Bridesmaids) who loses her boyfriend Peter and her job and in an attempt to bring that boyfriend back stages a fake suicide attempt. She ends up in a psych ward and then drugged in the back of her mom Zelda's (Annette Bening) car and then New Jersey. This is problematic ... in that mom has a number of "impulse control" issues: gambling, shopping, being just two examples. 

Comedy ensues ... 

Home is Ocean City, NJ, which is a nightmare for Imogene - mom has a new boyfriend (Matt Dillon playing an unnamed covert government agent); her old room is now inhabited by Lee, a boarder (Glee's Darren Criss) who impersonates a member of the Back Street Boys in a cheesy stage show in Ocean City; and, her nerdy brother Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald) is obsessed with crabs and all things mollusk. 

Imogene, a once promising playwright, must find a way regain her life among the shiny, pretty people that she had access to when she dated Peter. Except none of the mean girls that she associated with want anything to do with her, she is thrown out of her apartment and she has no employment. 

This being a comedy Imogene must regain at least part or all of what she lost ... she does and in the silliest way possible restoring her troubled relationship with mom by tackling an agent trying to kill Mom's boyfriend and making the evening news. This liberating action coupled with Lee's support as her new boyfriend helps her regain her confidence so that she is able to write a play that is staged in Manhattan ... all this ranges from silly to improbable to ridiculous.

And that makes me sad ... because I think Wiig is wonderful. Much better than this cheesy material.

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