Emily the Criminal

Aubrey Plaza as Emily

An astute move sideways by Aubrey Plaza, Emily the Criminal gives her fans a bit of what they want alongside a good whack of something new. She’s a producer of the film so it’s fair to say this is deliberate. Playing the sexy snark can’t go on for ever, and she’s been working this territory at least since 2007’s online TV series The Jeannie Tate Show (she was the petulant drug-dependent teenage step-daughter). In 2009, Parks and Recreation made her a star. Since then Plaza has been playing variations on that Parks and Rec character, cynic/slacker/ditz April Ludgate, in films like Safety Not Guaranteed, Life After Beth, Ingrid Goes West and Dirty Grandpa. … Read more

Best Sellers

Michael Caine and Aubrey Plaza in bed

At the Raindance film festival, London, UK, 27 October–6 November 2021 Formula written, if you’re feeling grouchy, inspired by Hollywood’s golden era, if you’re not, Best Sellers has two great performers at its centre – Michael Caine, still pumping out the charisma and deadly comic timing at 88, and Aubrey Plaza, who ups her ante to stay in the game with a wily old master and puts a soft edge on her usual smart sexy sarcasm. Here’s the formula. He’s an aged writer who wrote a best seller 50 years ago but has done nothing since. She’s the poor little rich girl who’s inherited a publishing house and is now watching it collapse … Read more

Happiest Season

The family (plus guest) line up for a Christmas photo

Gooey, sentimental Richard Curtis movies are the template for this wannabe starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis as Abby and Harper, a romantically linked couple going back to Harper’s parents’ for Christmas. Being a mainstream movie about homosexual love – Lesbians, Actually – these young women are not in-your-face dyke-on-a-bike Sapphics but nice young women who just want to be accepted for what they are. Neither is heroic – Abby’s parents are dead and so she never had to come out to them; Harper has never told her parents. And that’s the hook on which this film hangs. Is Harper going to fess up and simultaneously re-apprise them of the identity of her … Read more

Black Bear

Aubrey Plaza and Christopher Abbott

Aubrey Plaza fans, here’s your film. In Black Bear she plays one, two, three or even four roles, depending on how you’re counting, as an actor/director trying to hash out a screenplay out in a cabin in the woods. From the first instant that Allison (Plaza) arrives at this B&B “for creatives”, as owners Blair (Sarah Gadon) and Gabe (Christopher Abbott) put it, it’s obvious there’s going to be trouble. She, a self-declared “difficult” actress who went into directing because no on would employ her any more, immediately starts that bantering, joshing to and fro with host Gabe which indicates that she fancies him. As they walk up from the main gate, he … Read more