Starring: Kaley Cuoco, David Oyelowo, Connie Nielsen, Rudi Dharmalingam, Simon Delaney, and Bill Nighy
Director: Thomas Vincent
Prime’s Role Play is exactly what you would expect from a gender-swapped True Lies-ripoff that is quietly dropping on a streaming service in January. Despite being rated R, it’s surprisingly timid, and although it’s billed as an action-comedy-thriller, there is very little action, very few jokes, and almost zero thrills. David Oyelowo does his best to elevate the material, especially on the comedy front, but it’s almost as if director Thomas Vincent held him back so he wouldn’t steal Kaley Cuoco’s limelight. Overall, despite a decent start, a solid (if unoriginal) premise, and a great single scene from Bill Nighy, this is a predictable dud.
I can’t begin to understand what Role Play was trying to go for. It has the premise of a goofy rom-com, but is hell-bent on taking itself seriously. It’s not funny enough to be a comedy, but it’s not nearly exciting enough to function as a worthwhile thriller. It’s basically a dollar bin version of Black Widow (2021), but with far less action and twice the boring melodrama. The film can’t commit to a tone for longer than five minutes at a time, which makes the whole narrative feel hopelessly confused. From start to finish, Role Play is a total mess.
Yes, I fell asleep while watching director Thomas Vincent’s Role Play, and no, it wasn’t a particularly long day. Absolutely no chances are taken here, the fight choreography is rough, and the resulting boredom is quite impressive given my affinity for any story based on an assassin trying to live a double life. Kaley Cuoco and David Oyelowo have almost zero chemistry, and even if this were meant to be a comedy, the lack of commitment to that approach leaves it out of the realm of Mr. & Mrs. Smith and True Lies. Save this for chore day.