A Crime Thriller With One of My Favorite Comedians in the Lead (does It Work?)

A Crime Thriller With One of My Favorite Comedians in the Lead (does It Work?)

Aubrey Plaza and Theo Rossi in Emily the Criminal [Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Vertical Entertainment]

Emily the Criminal

 – star    

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Year Released: 2022
Runtime: 1h 37m
Director(s): John Patton Ford
Writer(s): John Patton Ford
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Megalyn Echikunwoke, and Gina Gershon
Where To Watch: exclusively in theaters on August 12, 2022

Aubrey Plaza (SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, PARKS AND RECREATION) is easily one of my favorite actors working in Hollywood now. She has an undeniable charm and can deliver daggers with a straight face, a perfect balance that always makes her performance enjoyable. In this film, Plaza plays Emily, playing it pretty straight, although she still manages to find a couple moments to deliver some fun to the story. The story is personal for director John Patton Ford and millions of others throughout America. Student loans, petty criminal records, and a nonstop housing crisis all add to a terrifying existence for many across the country.

Playing opposite Plaza is Theo Rossi (SONS OF ANARCHY, ARMY OF THE DEAD,) who plays Youcef and delivers a fantastic performance. I was intrigued by the back and forth between the two leads. Their chemistry, which I didn’t initially see, was one of my favorite aspects of the film. Plaza’s fiery personality was countered at every turn by Rossi’s prompt and stern delivery throughout. 

The film delivers a very timely statement; although the actions in the movie may seem extreme, they aren’t too far from reality. I wouldn’t doubt for a moment that there is a sense of truth to it all. People are struggling, and even when they finally find their “dream job,” it often isn’t everything they had hoped for. Even if it is, the pay usually doesn’t make it worth it; paying student loans is a struggle even with a great-paying job. Often, paying the interest is hard enough; many end up paying back multiple times what they borrowed because of a broken system.

If I were to knock the film for anything, it would probably be that it tried to tie up all the loose ends in the last 20 minutes. I would’ve liked to see a longer run time or perhaps have the final act start a little sooner. The story itself wasn’t super deep, but it didn’t need to be; it was meant as an enjoyable crime/thriller and delivered a solid overall experience.

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