Emily the Criminal

[3.5 stars] [IMDB Link]

[Amazon Link]
(paid link)

Alternate title: Looking for Mr. Goodscam.

I decided I shouldn't watch so many Big Dumb Movies. So I watched this free-to-me on Netflix; it's a Little Dumb Movie. And it has Aubrey Plaza in it; she's easier on the (heterosexual male) eyes than Gerard Butler.

She plays the titular Emily. Right off the bat, it appears she's got problems with honesty and temper, as she botches a job interview by failing to disclose a past felony conviction for assault. She has a low-paying catering delivery job, and (as a result) is falling behind on her student loan payments. She's also prone to abusing substances, and making bad decisions.

So when she gets a tip about a gig buying expensive electronics with stolen credit card numbers, she takes a toe-dip into criminality. Her mentor is a charismatic Lebanese guy, Youcef, and he keeps introducing her to riskier schemes with a higher payoff. And (as it develops) a greater chance of violence. As noted above, Emily has a temper, especially when she feels she's been wronged.

It's definitely watchable. But, of course, there's a Deeper Lesson, and the movie beats the viewer over the head with it:

Well I guess five examples is enough, although Google tells of more. If you're looking for a more market-friendly critique, here's Hollywood in Toto:

The film doubles as a critique of modern capitalism, suggesting the current system is “rigged” against its own citizens.

Reality is more complicated, of course, and college graduates shouldn’t expect to lead their best lives in a New York Minute. That explains why the film can’t stick with reality long enough to make us care for the titular “Criminal.”

If you are a John Billingsley or Gina Gershon fan, they have brief roles as soul-crushing, dream-trashing capitalist exploiters.

I was also planning on watching Nomadland, but I think I'll have to watch some more Big Dumb Movies first.

Last Modified 2024-01-11 4:46 AM EDT