What a waste of talented actors
What a waste of talented actors

MOVIE REVIEW: Contender for worst film of the year

There are definitely worse movies to come out in 2019, out there in the wasteland of B movies or straight-to-DVD releases that you'll never hear about.

But The Kitchen is a serious contender for one of 2019's worst because it isn't populated with nobodies whose names you'll never even bother to learn. It's a major studio release that squanders an incredible cast.

When you put the twice-Oscar nominated Melissa McCarthy up against Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss and box office draw Tiffany Haddish, you should give them something that isn't a baffling mess.

Then when you add in a supporting cast that includes Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Camp and Margo Martindale, you start to really rage that this 1970s-set movie has wasted everyone's talent and time, especially your own.

 

Contender for worst movie of the year.
Contender for worst movie of the year.

 

What the hell was The Kitchen cooking up? Some E. coli-ridden slop destined for a mountainous landfill if you're lucky. If consumed, well, you know what happens.

When Kathy (McCarthy), Ruby (Haddish) and Claire's (Moss) loutish husbands are arrested for armed robbery and sent upstate for three years, they're left with few choices.

The Irish mob their husbands worked for don't "take care" of them as promised, sliding pitiful envelopes under their doors filled with barely any money.

When their pleas to the mob's boss Jackie (Myk Watford) and the group's matriarch Helen (Martindale) are spat back in their faces with menace, they decide to get in on the criminal action themselves.

So they start taking over the "collections" all over Hell's Kitchen, which are extortion payments in return for "protection" and patronage.

Jackie ain't too happy, not just at his grass being cut, but by it being cut by three broads. How dare they?!

The Kitchen, written and directed by Andrea Berloff and adapted from a run of comic books, wants to be positioned as a feminist story, the sisters doing it for themselves and all that. But it lacks any of the thought, nuance or even consistency that's necessary for it to be anything other than an embarrassment.

The actors, who try their best, especially McCarthy, can only do so much when they're faced with such blisteringly bad material.

The movie wants us to empathise with its three leads and condone their violence and standover tactics in the name of empowerment. Well, there's nothing empowering about executing a homeless man in an alleyway because he once body slammed you. That is not how an abused wife reclaims her "power".

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If you want a movie that compellingly looks at how a group of women take over their husbands' criminal activities go watch Widows. It has all the moral complexity The Kitchen lacks.

The Kitchen can't even decide what kind of movie it wants to be. A dark comedy? Maybe. A caper? Umm, sure? A thriller? Could be.

Its hodgepodge mix of styles and tones isn't genre-defying, it's the mark of a movie that either started with a terrible script or lost any sense of coherence in the editing suite - there are story and character jumps that make no sense.

The only thing that makes sense is your choice to avoid The Kitchen like as if it is a three-day-old half-eaten tuna sandwich lying in the muddy gutter.

Rating: 1/5

The Kitchen is in cinemas now

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