EMILY THE CRIMINAL
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Jonathan Avigdori, and Gina Gershon
Director: John Patton Ford
Emily the Criminal is a tight little 90-minute noir crime film that turns Aubrey Plaza into a badass. She shines by taking an offer she can’t refuse (making easy money through credit card fraud), but even with this side of her we haven’t seen before, it’s just a mediocre flick. It’s a shame too because the concept is there for a good story, but with the film lacking character development and feeling dry due to not enough depth or tension, it falls shy of being a decent thriller.
Aubrey Plaza is an unwieldy talent and one of the most remarkable actresses working today, so it’s a shame that Emily the Criminal doesn’t quite match her natural energy. That’s not to say the film is bad by any means, only that it looks and sounds like every other small indie film of its kind. There’s not a whole lot to hold onto here, and the film doesn’t put forth a lot of effort in ensuring the story is as gripping as Plaza can often be. That said, it’s worth watching for her performance alone, just not for much else.
Emily the Criminal features several of the more superficial aspects I look for in indie crime flicks, to include being shot in a grimy patina befitting the scumbag element at the story’s core. That said, be it the muddled stakes or the dispassionate social commentary, I just didn’t connect with it. Admittedly, Aubrey Plaza is like Kristin Wiig, in that it’s hard for me to take her seriously, which I’m sure didn’t help me to buy in completely since I kept expecting her to deadpan towards the camera like The Office. Whatever the reason, it simply didn’t work for me.