Review by Jacquelin Hipes
Movies like Most Likely to Murder tend to settle for a fairly flimsy story, using it as a thin thread connecting a series of interrelated sketches. The connecting element here is Billy (Adam Pally), a goofy high school has-been who regularly leaves droning voicemails for his ex-girlfriend Kara (Rachel Bloom) that brag about his glitzy Vegas lifestyle. Those messages are a lie, of course, but it’s been so long since Billy visited his hometown that no one knows he scrubs toilets at fancy clubs rather than sitting in the VIP lounge. When he elects to spend one last Thanksgiving in his childhood home before his parents move, Billy expects everything to be exactly as it was. Except his parents have sold his beloved truck, forcing him to ride a motor scooter around town, and Kara has seemingly moved on to the former class weirdo and Billy’s neighbor, Lowell (Vincent Kartheiser).
That’s only one way in which his former victim has seemingly upstaged him. Lowell works at the local pharmacy, discretely helping old classmates with the more embarrassing symptoms of middle age like hair loss and erectile dysfunction. Billy’s old pals may play along with some ribbing at first, but after Billy gets high and thinks he sees a murder in Lowell’s house one night, they quickly abandon ship. Only his best friend Duane (Doug Mand) agrees to assist in an increasingly harebrained investigation.
The thriller component takes up a relatively scant amount of the film’s 100 minute runtime. Most of the situational comedy instead revolves around Billy confronting his man-child existence compared to the adolescent friends who have since moved on. Its humor veers loud, crass, and obvious but, strangely enough, never mean-spirited. Long-time friends Dan Gregor (who also directed) and Doug Mand penned the script, and the cast clearly enjoyed themselves while filming. A healthy scattering of Ace Ventura references should amuse those seeking some 90’s nostalgia, but there’s nothing particularly noteworthy in watching Billy bumble around like an overgrown teenager (which, admittedly, he mostly is).
You can’t accuse self-styled stoner comedies for any sort of misleading advertising—they really do benefit from a little chemical supplement. At least, I assume they do, because watching Most Likely to Murder stone-cold sober wasn’t exactly a comedic revelation. The same stuff that transforms Taco Bell from junk food to gourmet eats may work the same miracles here, although I’ll leave that to other viewers to decide.
The film will be available on Digital and on Demand May 1st.
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