Directed by Dan Gregor and written with his writing partner Doug Mand, two of the men behind the rather dodgy Robert Downey Jnr vehicle Dolittle, Most Likely To Murder was given quite the kicking by some critics and has a fairly low 5.2 score on imdb. Due to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend I’m enormously fond of Rachel Bloom though so watched it because she stars and produced this, and I’m glad I did as I discovered a quite unpredictable and smart low key comedy.
Perhaps it wasn’t well received as it takes a little while to get going, as all round loser Billy (Pally) returns to his parents for Thanksgiving and catches up with old friends (including Hasan Minhaj and Billy Eichner, who are both great but not given enough to do) while hoping to get together with old flame Kara (Bloom). Billy used to be ridiculously popular at school but finds upon his return that nearly everyone has moved on, and only his best friend Duane (the aforementioned Doug Mand) still thinks he’s cool.
After getting drunk and stoned one night in his old bedroom he looks out across the road and sees neighbour and former bullying victim Lowell (Mad Man and Angel star Vincent Kartheiser) in a rage, and the next morning Lowell’s mother is dead and being taken away in an ambulance. Billy leaps to what seems to be the obvious conclusion and then spends the rest of the film trying to persuade Kara, Duane and the police (in the form of Search Party’s John Reynolds) that Lowell is guilty, but no one believes him because he’s such an idiot these days and everyone now loves Lowell.
After the movie’s premise has been set up it then does its very best to deconstruct the genre, and there are a great deal of very funny swerves away from the predictable. Each time you think the punchline to a joke might be coming along the opposite often happens, and the script is far smarter than this type of fare tends to be. There’s a particularly great running gag involving a possible sex tape Billy made with the cop’s wife years ago, Billy is amusingly haunted by the sight of Lowell’s massive penis, and a scene where Billy can’t think of the word “Investigation” and both he and Duane bounce back and forward trying to guess what he means is a laugh out loud moment.
Also strong are the reaction from Duane’s seemingly flirtatious sister Tami (Julia Goldani Telles) when Billy hits on her, and what happens next is superb too, and the way the film ramps up the tension towards the end only to suddenly deflate in a couple of places is another very funny aspect. Plus the way the ending plays out makes this much, much better than a lazier, more predictable movie would have been and made me confused as to why it had received such a poor response from certain areas.
All of the cast are great but it’s really Pally’s movie, where he’s on screen in nearly every scene and manages to make a fairly douche-y character very likeable. It does slightly waste Bloom who’s really great in the film but not in it for that long, and it’s a shame that after a decent enough opening scene it then lags a little until the plot kicks in, but otherwise this is a fairly great comedy, and one which will keep you guessing right through to the very end.