In the picture

July 12, 2020

An unoriginal premise and a weak, unfunny script make the new Netflix comedy Desperados a complete disappointment.

Desperados 1/2

Staring: Nasim Pedrad, Anna Camp, Lamorne Morris, Sarah Burns, and Robbie Amell

Direction: LP

The accidental or regrettable email has been a subplot in several comedies. Anne Hathaway’s frazzled Jules sent one not too long ago in The Intern (2015); her employees then went on a mini heist to delete the offending message from the recipient’s computer. Julia Roberts’ love-struck Jules also wrote one in My Best Friend’s Wedding all the way back in 1997, albeit with entirely different intentions. In each case, the shenanigans revolving around the problematic email were used mostly as brief detours along the central journey.

The new film Desperados, however, takes this unoriginal concept and unwisely decides to stretch it to feature length, and, even more unwisely, chooses to pair it with crude humour. The results are more cringe-worthy than amusing.

The sender of the email this time around is shockingly not a Jules but a guidance counselor named Wesley (portrayed by SNL alum Nasim Pedrad). She isn’t having much luck finding a job or a boyfriend. Right after a failed blind date with a man named Sean (Lamorne Morris), a chance encounter with the charming Jared (Robbie Amell) makes her feel like she has found the perfect guy. Desperate to make the relationship work, she hides her eccentricities and turns into a completely different person in the hopes of pleasing her man. But when her new beau proceeds to ghost her, Wesley gets drunk with her best friends, Brooke (Anna Camp) and Kaylie (Sarah Burns), and sends Jared a very insulting email, only to find out that he is in fact injured and stuck in a hospital in Mexico.

Scared that if Jared reads the email it would mean the end of their relationship, Wes goes to Cabo, her BFFs in tow. The ladies’ plan is to break into Jared’s hotel room, find his devices, and delete the message.

You’d reckon things would go amusingly wrong, but sadly hilarity is in short supply here. Instead you have predictable developments, tired shenanigans, and distasteful gags, courtesy of an unfunny script by Ellen Rapoport and LP’s indistinctive direction.

The film wants to emulate the success of the significantly funnier Bridesmaids and Girls Trip but its crew lacks the talent to match the wit and warmth of these acclaimed comedies.

Even its cast, as charming as the actors may be, struggle to do much with the weak material they have been given. Pedrad has chemistry with her onscreen love interests, but there are times when she seems like a supporting player who has been put in charge of a vehicle she can’t fully command. Camp just makes you wish her talent hadn’t been wasted on this tired script.

Towards the end, Desperados tries to deliver a few heartfelt moments and positive messages, but the film ultimately lacks the wit and emotional depth that would make the morals impactful or the journey worthwhile.

Rating system: ★ Not on your life ★ ½ If you really must waste your time ★★ Hardly worth the bother ★ ★ ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
★ ★ ★ Good enough for a look see ★ ★ ★ ½ Recommended viewing ★ ★ ★ ★ Don’t miss it ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ Almost perfect ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Perfection

Desperados Netflix review: A weak, unfunny script