Miss Nobody (2011) is a crime comedy caught somewhere between almost funny and not quite criminally average. There’s plenty of style about it, colorful overtones and expressive details fluttering about, though needlessly of the syrupy variety; a kind of broad stroke comic book wash commonplace with unpracticed directors with soft hands. What looks polished slick is only magazine cover funny the way clicking channels makes B movies and A movies all look exceptionally the same. The fact this film makes no effort to hide its similarities in the comfort of blatant clichés feels short-sighted if not intentionally convenient. It will most likely appeal best to those interested in caricature over character and those looking for a laugh at the expense of clever.
The thing to notice about this film is perhaps the same thing that makes it one to miss – style over substance. This is pretty and packaged as a driving force behind an otherwise run of the mill story that would fail without the heavy-handed schmaltz propping it up. We see it all the time actually, from much bigger movies no less. “Date Night” comes to mind, the gimmick’s in the title for criminy sake and as soon as the gimmick rubs off so does the story. Remember it’s the married couple going out on a date away from the drudgery of their lives and the reality of their hopeless boredom only to cross paths with big time inept criminals and the ensuring night of frivolous chase scenes and terrible writing. This is about the time you remember that you’ve seen the best parts of Miss Nobody in more commercially successful films. It doesn’t mean success or better quality only slightly different results.
Miss Nobody is part OK charm, part comedy of errors where the filmmakers seem most effective at tapping into our obsession with social deprecation than anything. Other reviews of this film mentioned movies like “Heathers” in their reviews and I kept thinking about “Dexter” – though the similarities begin and end with people getting killed in unexpected ways. This is mostly seeing the underdog finally getting her comeuppance even if it means by way of blood work and dastardly deeds. It’s hard to peg a film like this, not really entertaining as such and definitely no lesson to learn – except maybe it doesn’t take a lot of brains to be a criminal. Inevitably Miss Nobody fails at the most basic of story telling prerequisites – story plus character equals plot to pay off.
There’s nothing wrong with aiming low and churning out a Tuesday night movie but getting there is definitely half the battle and when the script doesn’t help it’s a long way to the finish line. Filmmakers are wise to learn it’s getting harder to sneak flat movies that look good past movie-goers looking for payback of the price of admission. Movie-goers are just as rewarded when we stop telling ourselves average is good enough and justify sitting through mediocre when you could be doing just about anything else should be motivation enough to demand more from the Hollywood machine. Pretty soon it’s clear there’s just only so much you can do with murder and murderers, however absurd or ridiculous you pretend otherwise. If you miss this one or it’s too late because it’s already in the mail on the way to your house, consider this – it’s never too late to send it back.