There’s something interesting when a more comedic actor makes the dive into dramatic work. It has always been a weird fascination for me personally. I was floored the first time that I saw Jordan Peele’s Get Out. I couldn’t bring myself to believe that this was from the same dude that did a movie about becoming a fake gangster just to get his cat back. Or seeing the same guy who brought Michael Scott to life play a killer in Fox Catcher. Then continue to turn in phenomenal performances in The Big Short & Vice respectively. That feeling of goosebumps the first time you see Jim Carrey in Man on the Moon or Robin Williams in One Hour Photo – it’s indescribable. It’s just a fascinating process to see unfold. Not to mention, they are performances that completely catch you off guard.
Honestly, that very fact is what drew me to The Kitchen. A film which is led by a duo of actors of Melissa McCarthy, who is primarily known for more comedic roles, and Tiffany Haddish, who is solely known for her comedy. Add in Us actress, Elisabeth Moss, and you have The Kitchen. The movie tells the story of three women, respectively played by McCarthy, Haddish and Moss, whose husbands are connected to the Irish mob. Only to be incarnated for three years. In their absence, the wives build a criminal empire. Throughout it’s nearly two hour run time, the movie manages to do both a lot and accomplish nothing simultaneously. It’s truly an impressive feat in the worst way possible.
To be completely transparent, I’m not even sure where to start with our leading ladies. McCarthy, as the film’s leading lady, never quite feels confident enough for the role of which the film is calling her to be. Consistently reflecting facial features that never quite match her on screen persona and demeanor. It almost feels as if she’s in a completely different movie. Haddish, on the other hand, feels a bit more confident. The catch of her character is that it’s only in the second half of the movie. There is a shift within her character that happens but audiences are never quite sure where it comes from. Though, when the change comes, it stays. It’s a definite improvement for the character, the journey of reaching that point for the character just feels lost on the audience. Moss, though, is absolutely electric. Without a doubt, she steals the entirety of the show with every frame that she is in. She is stunninglypsychotic and you’re unable to utterly move your eyes away from her.
The pacing of the film only adds insult to injury. It feels like Suicide Squad or Batman vs. Superman. The pacing is so quick and jumpy – it makes it hard to follow at times. When viewers are able to follow along, it feels more like short stories coming together to collide rather than the narrative reaching the peaks of film. It never quite brings itself to the level of theatricality. Most of the characters never really seem to have any development at all. There are certain arcs that feel hollow because they don’t have the designated sequences to truly flesh out the arcs. Haddish’s character, Ruby, is probably the worst offense to this. Not to mention, her character has the massive twist at the end – only to have it go literally no where. It begs the question, if you had no plans for it, why is it even set to film?
Overall, The Kitchen, is in need of a clean up crew. Led by Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss. The film manages to tell several stories without ever telling one cohesive one. McCarthy lacks the charm or confidence of the leading woman for this role. Half the time, it feels like she belongs in another picture. Haddish, while strong in the second and third act, feels like she is missing a part of her story. Moss, among everyone else, completely dominates this film. For as little screen time as she has – she is utter psychotic perfection. The Kitchen suffers from narrative problems, pacing issues and any real development. Check the expiration date, The Kitchen might be past its’ prime.
RORSCHACH RATING SCALE:
And more importantly, if you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, addiction, self-harm or depression - please free feel to reach out. Use any our resources, call the suicide lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or text 741-741.
Credits: The Kitchen is property of Warner Brothers Pictures, New Line Cinema & DC Entertainment. We do not own nor claim any rights.