This is a capsule review. A full review will be posted closer to release.
Though it gleefully identifies the obvious metaphor for its existence when presented, the self-aware Mr. Right is more analogous to a proposed super-treat mentioned in passing: fried whipped cream. This movie is pure confectionery. Sam Rockwell, playing an assassin-with-a-heart-of-gold, starts dancing within ten seconds of appearing on screen, and practically never stops. Anna Kendrick, as the disastrously rebounding gal swept up in his wake, is committedly deranged. And at its best, Max Landis’s genre-savvy dialogue crackles like Pop Rocks. These are all great things in moderation, but a dessert that’s all sweet, sweet froth, no base, doesn’t make for much of a dish at all.
Never quite as fun as it should be, Mr. Right is hard of vision, probably because one eye is fixed on the camera in a perpetual state of winking. The laugh lines, important to any romcom, don’t get much oxygen when shot in wavering closeup. The gunplay and fight choreography, important to any hitman-meets-woman romcom, imply a series of actions more often than they convincingly illustrate one. Time and budget constraints may be the true culprits, or maybe the problem is that Mr. Right doesn’t have a plot capable of refining its anarchic energy into comic gold. (If there’s any poetry to the script, it’s in the choral refrain of characters noting that nothing going on makes much sense).
Kendrick and Rockwell are, of course, delightful, even if the best excuse Mr. Right has for their characters hooking up, getting into trouble, or doing anything, really, is that they’re both insane. Rockwell whistles like Hawkeye Pierce, Kendrick’s Martha has an obsession with T-Rexes, Tim Roth has an (intentionally) awful Louisiana accent, and RZA plays a loveable goon. It’s all very cute in concept, but only occasionally plays as such on screen. Mr. Right hyperactively throws candy at the audience instead of putting it in a piñata worth cracking into.
It didn’t seem like the phrase “it’s no American Ultra” would ever be necessary, but then along comes Mr. Right.