After criticising the lack of originality in Hollywood, Max Landis’ latest screenplay intersperses the rom-com with the crime genre in Mr Right, directed by Spanish filmmaker Paco Cabezas. The plot follows wacky Martha (Anna Kendrick) who, after catching her boyfriend with another girl, goes on the rebound with mysteriously madcap Francis (Sam Rockwell), who charms and, quite literally, dances his way through life. What she doesn’t know is that Francis is a morally warped hit-man who instead of taking out his targets, kills off the people who hire him. What he doesn’t know is his former colleague and mercenary Hopper (Tim Roth) is hot on his trail, and on the hunt for the large bounty on his head.
The conversations are both poppy and corny as the two romantic leads meet and as a rom-com, the narrative really works for the first half hour or so. Kendrick and Rockwell have fun with the script and make the unlikely pairing likeable for a while at least. Francis is a cartoonish parody of the comedy hit-man of times gone by and even puts on a clown’s red nose as he executes his victims. Where this circus of a movie ultimately falls down though is in the balancing act of juggling the two genres. As the story develops, a gang of awful villains that wouldn’t look out of place in one of the bad Home Alone sequels are introduced, the potential from the premise is undone. Tim Roth is enjoyable to watch in it, and has some great lines of dialogue and his character takes on different personas to outwit his foes, but even he isn’t enough to steer the film away from cliché pitfalls.
Paco Cabezas, to his credit, does a good job of making the film visually interesting and the fight sequences are nicely edited and well choreographed. Unfortunately he is lumbered with Landis’ screenplay that tries too hard to be funny and does the project very little favours. In the aforementioned fight for more originality and innovation, what he has failed to realise is that taking the ingredients of one tired genre and simply mixing it together with the makings of another doesn’t make the outcome very original at all. ‘Mr Right’ is a recipe that goes wrong.