Against my better judgement I watched, The Wrong Missy, which is the latest straight-to-Netflix Happy Madison production. The trailer seemed to incorporate everything that plagues these types of comedies: over-the-top characters, an irrational plot, gross out humor, and general absurdity. It is worth noting up top that the movie delivers on these promises and is absolutely filled with all of these tropes. While initially filed away as, “never going to see that,” social media buzz about it actually being funny, and the general lack of new movies coming out, led me to give it a shot and…I didn’t hate it?
The basic premise of the movie is that Tim (David Spade, Just Shoot Me) has a horrendous blind date with Missy (Lauren Lapkus, Crashing), which is traumatic enough to turn him off to dating altogether until a chance encounter at the airport with a girl named Melissa (Molly Sims, Las Vegas) has him believing he’s met the perfect girl for him. His HR friend at work Nate (Nick Swardson, Grandma’s Boy) who does great work in the movie, convinces him to invite her to the upcoming work retreat in Hawaii in order to impress the new boss of the company (Geoff Pierson, Dexter). This plan has the added benefit of helping Tim stick it in the nose of his ex-fiance (Sarah Chalke, Scrubs) who will be attending with Tim’s coworker Rich (Chris Witaske, Lady Bird). When Melissa agrees to come, Tim is ecstatic and talks her up to his rival (Jackie Sandler, Pixels) who’s competing for a promotion with him, but, through a horrible texting mishap, he mistakenly invites Missy instead. Now she is there in Hawaii, in all of her terrifyingly awkward glory amongst all these important people, and he has no choice but to, Just Go With It, (no wait) that’s a different Happy Madison movie.
If all of this sounds somewhat familiar, it is probably because one of the writers is Kevin Barnett who worked on the screenplay for The Heartbreak Kid, (a better movie) where a newlywed man who thinks he found the perfect woman, discovers she’s a bit of a nightmare before meeting another woman on their honeymoon. If you couple that with frequent Happy Madison collaborator Tyler Spindel as the director of this one, you get that formula to which you are so accustomed by now. If you have enjoyed the movies that this formula has churned out over the last decade, then there is no reason you won’t like this one too. However, if you have found those to be exhausting and/or too middling for your tastes, then you’ll find plenty of those same feelings with The Wrong Missy.
Spade plays a very subdued straight man role trying to wrangle in a very eccentric Lapkus, which harkens back to the pairing of him and the late great Chris Farley (Black Sheep), even though that’s an entirely unfair comparison to ever make given how perfect those two played off of each other. What Lapkus does in this movie is absolutely go-for-it. You can’t help but be in awe of someone that has no issue with shedding inhibition in pursuit of laughter, and while some of her antics may border on cringeworthy, she also makes some genuine magic where the script likely called for her immense improvisational talents. It is that energy, for better or for worse, that drives the movie through its crisp 90-minute runtime.
As would be expected, her character causes terribly awkward moments for everyone she comes across, which might delight some viewers and leave others watching through their fingers. The same sentiment applies to even more awkward sex encounters, poop-jokes, vomit, and so forth. While all of that is passable even if it’s not pleasant, the lack of realism with someone falling off a cliff without injury or Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick) fighting a shark is a bit distracting. Sure, someone like Missy might exist (pray you never encounter them), but you have to draw the line somewhere. That said, Schneider as Komante, the captain of the shark excursion boat, is one of the better parts of the movie, which helps make him going full Statham on the shark a bit more forgivable.
Of course, despite all of crazy behavior Missy displays and the issues she causes, ultimately Tim has to warm up to her and realize she might be exactly what he needs. Slowly this happens as she helps him with his boss, and ropes him into an ill-fated threesome (with an incredible soundtrack), but mostly she dials down the crazy just a smidge which allows the best dialogue of the whole movie as Spade and Lapkus trade playful barbs. It’s a lot easier to fall for someone when you can have real conversation and develop some chemistry without them going off the rails, so the fact that Missy is able to do that could be viewed as a flaw in the writing or a product of her character starting to let her guard down. If you believe the latter, then the conclusion of the movie could be more satisfying and leave you with hope for the odd couple.
There has never been a better time for content like The Wrong Missy. While it may be a paint by numbers comedy, it manages to provide Lapkus a vehicle to go nuts, and it has just enough laughs to sustain itself over its 90-minutes runtime. Plus, there just aren’t enough movies being released right now, and, if for no other reason, it is worth the watch for the five perfect seconds that close out the film. Happy Madison has done worse…much better…but also worse.