Tag Archives: road trip movies

The Long F*cking Goodbye

Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town

by Matt Weiner

For a character who’s supposed to have trouble holding down a steady job, Izzy is putting in some serious work: Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town is a road trip movie that never leaves its first city, a shaggy dog celebration of Los Angeles with characters who could rival those in any LA noir. But more than anything it’s a sharp inversion of the manic pixie dream girl and the role she inhabits.

Written and directed by Christian Papierniak, Izzy GTFAT is disjointed by design. Mackenzie Davis (Tully) holds everything together as Izzy, a once-promising musician who is now too strung out to keep a catering job, let alone the man of her dreams. When she finds out that her ex-boyfriend Roger (Alex Russell) is getting engaged, she sets off across Los Angeles to make it to the big party and win him back.

At each stop in her journey, Izzy gets help from a standout supporting cast. Lakeith Stanfield, Haley Joel Osment, Alia Shawkat and Annie Potts run the gamut from wistful and strange to funny and strange to… well, strange and strange. These vignettes have the feel of early Richard Linklater, so while the structure of Izzy’s Odyssean journey gets repetitive midway through, the actors keep it interesting.

Papierniak gets the film back on track with Izzy’s major confrontations: first a bittersweet reunion with her sister (Carrie Coon), which hints at a lifetime of backstory in just a few tender minutes. And then finally with what has been teased all along: Roger’s engagement party.

Without giving too much away, the confrontation and aftermath go in a remarkable direction, serving up an altar of clichés only to mercilessly destroy them—a sacrifice to Izzy’s rebirth. She has spent the entire film careening from one manic pixie trope to the next in her desperate attempt to be the catalyst in somebody else’s story. So it’s pure delight to watch the way in which Izzy takes control after spending her adult life in thrall to her own fantasies, failures and dreams deferred.

There could easily be a version of this movie from Roger’s perspective. And ten years ago, we would all be expected to care about what happens to that bearded thumb and be happy for him. It’s probably the reality Izzy would have been happy with at that point in her life, too.

But times change. People change. Slowly, unevenly. And maybe not in ways we always hoped, but hopefully still, in some small way, for the better.



So Bad It’s Criminal

Hot Pursuit

by Hope Madden

Remember Election – Alexander Payne’s 1999 movie about high school student body electoral process? Reese Witherspoon was funny. She was also truly funny in Legally Blonde, a film that had no business working at all and yet did, miraculously, because of Witherspoon.

While Sofia Vergara isn’t quite as proven on the big screen, four Emmy nominations suggest she has some comic talent as well. So, if we can’t blame them, why in the world is Hot Pursuit so, so awful?

Better yet, why in the hell did they sign up to do it?

Witherspoon plays Cooper, an uptight cop assigned to transport duty. She needs to get a recently widowed drug lord’s wife to Dallas to testify against her late husband’s boss.

Things go terribly wrong, obviously, and soon Hot Pursuit clarifies itself as a fish out of water buddy cop cliché of a road trip movie.

They have nothing in common, you see. Cooper’s uptight, small, intense, while Vergara’s Daniella is a steaming pile of racial stereotypes. Daniella has big boobs, but Cooper dresses like a boy. How can they ever make it to Dallas?

Anne Fletcher, who also helmed the abysmal road trip cliché The Guilt Trip, outdoes herself with this one. Not one joke lands, not one gag goes over, not a frame of the film feels anything other than stale and beneath the talent involved.

David Feeney and John Quaintance took a break from anemic TV sitcoms to pen this. Dan Fogelman wrote The Guilt Trip, which means that Fletcher intentionally chose two separate, awful road trip movies to bring to the screen. Why? Does she hate us?

Witherspoon and Vergara work hard to keep this thing afloat, and Witherspoon fares a little better because at least her character is not outright offensive. There’s almost chemistry between the two – something that might have translated into a fun onscreen bond if either one of them had a single funny line to deliver. Banter is really too much to hope for.