Kajillionaire

 

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In Miranda July’s uneven coming-of-age satire, a couple and their daughter on the fringes of society prey on the vulnerable and susceptible to pay their rent.

 
Kajillionaire

Oceans Three: Richard Jenkins, Evan Rachel Wood and Debra Winger

   

The family that steals together stays together. Or does it? That was certainly the case with the Shibata clan in Kore-eda Hirokazu's profoundly touching Shoplifters (2018). But they were more a family by default than biology. Here, Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) is strictly a chip off the old block, entering into the scams engineered by her parents, Robert and Theresa Dyne (Richard Jenkins, Debra Winger), with nonchalant commitment. Explaining her need for them, she tells her new accomplice Melanie (Gina Rodriguez), “They’re my parents.” To which Melanie asks, “In what sense?” Um… “We split everything three ways?”

 

“We split everything three ways” would seem to be the catchphrase of this curious threesome, who live in an abandoned office attached to a soap factory called Bubbles Inc. Their rent is a pittance – $500 a month – but they do have to contend with a regular tsunami of foam gushing down their walls. And in spite of their constant schedule of cons and scams, the Dynes never seem to be able to meet the rent. Then, on a flight from New York, they befriend a fellow con artist…

 

‘Quirky’ is Miranda July’s middle name and while Kajillionaire, which she wrote and directed, is not without some wonderful moments, it sits uneasily between the plausible and the surreal. The problem is the tone. It is neither a cheeky, stylistic whirlwind, nor a credible take on dysfunctional family life. It’s just slow and weird. Nonetheless, Richard Jenkins brings much comic spark to his ever-hopeful opportunist, although Debra Winger is wasted in an almost invisible part as his wife. Still, it is refreshing to find a four-hander with three women on board, although Evan Rachel Wood’s rendition of Keanu Reeve’s Ted Logan might give you nightmares.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Debra Winger, Gina Rodriguez, Richard Jenkins, Mark Ivanir, Rachel Redleaf, Patricia Belcher, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Diana-Maria Riva.

 

Dir Miranda July, Pro Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Youree Henley, Screenplay Miranda July, Ph Sebastian Winterø, Pro Des Sam Lisenco, Ed Jennifer Vecchiarello, Music Emile Mosseri, Costumes Jennifer Johnson.

 

Plan B Entertainment/Annapurna Pictures-Universal Pictures.

105 mins. USA. 2020. Rel: 9 October 2020. Available on Amazon Prime, TalkTalkTV, etc. Cert. 12A.