film reel image

film reel image

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Queenpins 2021 * * * Stars


In 2021's Queenpins, Vince Vaughn sort of reinvents himself as a comedic actor. You eliminate "The" from the title of his past flicks while having him sort of underplay his role and it's refreshing. Vaughn channels an overly serious postal inspector and well, he's a subdued hoot.

Queenpins is a streaming comedy, a farcical tale by which crime doesn't pay (or does it?). It's a lot of fun and why wouldn't it be. I mean the film derides illegal couponing. Two regular, female Joe-s (Kristen Bell as Connie, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as JoJo) create a million dollar coupon scam from their Phoenix, Arizona homes. They live large, live high on the hog, and become well, "gangster". The role of Connie is kinda perfect for a gal like Kristen Bell. You see her in commercials and other movies and she's always real kooky/happy. 

Queenpins doesn't take itself seriously because again, it's about couponing (duh). Two directors helm it and they move the proceedings along at a feisty, tasty clip. I always love vehicles where people try to illegally pursue the American dream. You don't want them to get caught but at the same time, you also kinda do. Queenpins is a little tongue-in-cheek, a lotta girl power, a little crackpot, and sprinkled with the driest of humor. What could've easily been $5 bin disposable just gets better as it barrels along. 

Oh and did I mention Paul Walter Hauser? Well he's in Queenpins too. He plays a loss prevention inspector (Ken Miller) who helps Vaughn's Simon Kilmurry try to nab Connie and JoJo. Just like in Richard Jewell, Hauser inhabits the dim bulb persona to perfection. Ken has a poop schedule (7:30 AM by alarm), an overzealous way of interrogating suspects, and that cheesy mustache. Like Bell, he's in cinematic, comfortable shoe territory. 

Queenpins might be the only flick ever made about discounted vouchers and the stuff that propels the TLC-driven reality. It "goes in style" from the female perspective. I'll take the "discount". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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