Queenpins on Paramount+, a Comedy Starring Kristen Bell as the World’s Wackiest Coupon Scam Artist

Now on Paramount+ after a quickie theatrical run, Queenpins is a ridiculous BOATS (Based On A True Story; it’s best to know this acronym by now, dude) comedy starring Kristen Bell because the world’s best coupon scammer — which is what occurs if you really discover your area of interest, I suppose. Sound like a novel concept for a couple of BOATSy laughs? And including Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Bell’s Veronica Mars co-star), Paul Walter Hauser, and Vince Vaughn to the equation feels like a recipe for hilarity, proper? Let’s discover out.


The Gist: PHOENIX, ARIZONA. Connie (Bell) is sleeping the sleep of angels when the feds bust in and arrest her. This isn’t the place the story begins, nevertheless. Oh, no. We have to flash again to the start, the place Connie introduces us to herself by way of aggravating voiceover: She’s a cheery, upbeat lady who was an Olympic gold medalist in race strolling and now vaguely “enjoys” her life as a housewife with a ardour for clipping the dwelling shit out of coupons. Her evenly dickheaded IRS auditor of a husband, Rick (Joel McHale), is on the street for work loads; they racked up large fertility-clinic payments with heartbreaking outcomes; the nursery is crammed not with the coos and cries of a kid, however moderately, stockpiles of products she purchased on deep low cost. “I’m not SPENDING cash, I’m SAVING cash,” she argues to Rick as he eyeballs a dozen bottles of name-brand laundry detergent anchoring a shelf stuffed with name-brand cheez puffs, maxi-pads and the like. The room seems like a survival bunker, or a mini-bodega.

We see Connie in scorching full-frontal-couponing motion. She flags down the newspaper supply girl, and swaps some TP and different items for a giant stack of coupon flyers. She scissors the coupons like a flippin’ professional. She irritates the cashier and the road of individuals behind her on the grocery retailer by handing over a wad of coupons that scale back a $138.55 invoice alllllllll the way in which all the way down to $16.45. She opens a field of name-brand cereal and it’s stale, so she dashes off a snarky grievance letter and, some time later, opens the mail and her eyes get so huge on the sight of a coupon at no cost cereal, you’d suppose it was the Ark of the Covenant. She could also be deranged.

Connie’s neighbor is JoJo (Howell-Baptiste), a flailing entrepreneur and wannabe social media affect. She lives along with her mom (Greta Oglesby), who describes JoJo as “a saleswoman that don’t make no gross sales.” Connie, in the meantime, has snarky-lettered her means into a giant pile of freebies, producer’s coupons which might be the Holy Grail for her sort, valued at tens of {dollars} every. It happens to her, as it might to anybody, that she ought to drive to the producer’s coupon manufacturing unit in Mexico and get a disgruntled employee to repeatedly steal boxfuls of coupons for her so she will be able to promote the coupons on-line for a fraction of their worth and have JoJo assist promote the gross sales and run the enterprise, then watch her Paypal account accrue a whole bunch of 1000’s of {dollars}. The earlier sentence was a montage establishing that Connie and JoJo are formally candy sisters in financial savings, BOGO buddies, mail-in mamas, royal rebateers, and they’re possibly to not be effed with.

Then we meet Ken (Hauser), who’s a loss-prevention specialist for the grocery chain the place Connie retailers. He can spot a counterfeit coupon from 150 paces and can coolly deny an previous lady and lifelong buyer a $2 low cost if she unwittingly tries to cross one. Ken catches a whiff of some coupon fishiness and calls the FBI, which rolls its collective eyes at him as a result of he’s a dweeb and a pedant and, c’mon man, it’s simply coupons. Six months go by, and I do know this as a result of a subtitle reads SIX MONTHS LATER adopted by a scene wherein JoJo declares, “It’s been six months!” She and Connie have greater than $5 million and resolve they should launder it. In the meantime, a sub-basement shlub on the FBI passes the coupon file to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service as a result of Connie and JoJo have been committing mail fraud the entire time, and basically bilking massive corps out of thousands and thousands in gross sales. So Ken and USPIS agent Simon Kilmurry (Vaughn) pal up and get to the duty of taking down this not-all-that-harebrained enterprise.

Photograph: Everett Assortment

What Motion pictures Will It Remind You Of?: Queenpins performs like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels meets The Grifters meets American Hustle meets Kajillionaire, however run via the blander (and no, that’s not a typo).

Efficiency Price Watching: The principal forged members aren’t requested to do something exterior their personas, however we’re most grateful for Vaughn, who proves to be a small boon to a saggy film by exhibiting up midway via and serving to it keep afloat via its second hour.

Memorable Dialogue: I believe Connie’s attending to the higher level with this one: “Folks undervalue coupons.”

Intercourse and Pores and skin: None: TBDDFATCASIUCFARGOAMICOTF: Too Busy Dumpster-Diving For A Toothpaste Carton And Snipping Its UPC Code For A Actual Gem Of A Mail-In Coupon Provide To F—.

Our Take: So 110 minutes is certainly extra film than this subject material deserves — or am I lacking the purpose and undervaluing a film about how we undervalue coupons? Perhaps beneath the raise-an-eyebrow-and-smirk conceit is a narrative about 4 undervalued People on the lookout for their functions: An ex-Olympian who labored her ass off for medals, however is discovering life after glory to be unfulfilling (actually, what sort of societal buy can a race-walker reap?). A Black lady who can’t get an entrepreneurial leg up after her credit score was wrecked by an identification thief. A by-the-book loss-prevention dorkus dismissed as somebody who stops youngsters from shoplifting sweet. A Postal Service Inspector who carries all of the clout of an FBI agent, however will get not one of the glory (though we should always know by now that the USPSI are badasses, since they took down that greasy cretin Steve Bannon final 12 months).

In order that’s one thing, and author/administrators Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly clearly wish to stump for these underdogs. However Queenpins additionally form of ridicules them as fringe weirdos, objects of the simple joke. That could be OK if the movie put any satirical muscle behind its comedy; in truth, it pulls all of its punches, undermining its potential drama by loosely defining the enjoyment and ache of the characters lives, and infrequently inspiring a very good, stable giggle. (It does, nevertheless, insist that Hauser taking a very good, stable dump in his shorts is humorous.)

The movie depends closely on mismatched-buddy-banter junk, you-go-girl cliches and we’re-in-the-money montages, the form of stuff that makes a physique sigh at squandered alternatives for impressed comedy. Perhaps someplace in here’s a critique of capitalism or materialism; Gaudet and Pullapilly arrange Connie and JoJo as Robin Hoods pilfering from companies and giving a number of the spoils to common People trying to knock a couple of bucks off the grocery invoice, most likely out of necessity. Positive, they’re committing fraud, however what’s a couple of tens of thousands and thousands to the Procter and Gambles of the world? Diddly-squat. However none of those implications ever come to fruition in Queenpins, a film that’s in the end an underambitious wad of diddly-squat.

Our Name: SKIP IT. Unfocused and infrequently humorous, Queenpins doesn’t make a lot of a premise with potential.

John Serba is a contract author and movie critic primarily based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn extra of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com or comply with him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Stream Queenpins on Paramount+

https://decider.com/2021/09/30/queenpins-paramount-plus-stream-it-or-skip-it/ | Stream It or Skip It?


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