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ARIZONA (2018)

Directed by Jonathan Watson
Written by Luke Del Tredici
Starring Danny McBride, Rosemarie DeWitt, Lolli Sorenson, Luke Wilson, Elizabeth Gillies, Kaitlin Olson, David Alan Grier, Travis Hammer, Kevin Wiggins, Audrey Walters, Seth Rogan

Feeling very much like it wants to straddle the line between crime and comedy, ARIZONA seems to really want to be mentioned in the same sentence as some of the Cohen Brothers best films such as BLOOD SIMPLE, FARGO, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, and yes, RAISING ARIZONA. And while it definitely gets points for ambition, this happenstantial murder caper falls a bit short of genius. Still, there’s a lot to like about this one.

Set in 2009, during the housing crisis, in—you guessed it, Arizona, a realtor (Rosemarie DeWitt) finds herself in the middle of an unintentional murder rampage as a disgruntled buyer (Danny McBride) chases her around an abandoned, yet gated community. Hijinks ensue. Also murder.

Because I love pretty much Danny McBride does, this film had me. It was fun seeing him bumble his way through a murder spree—accidentally killing folks left and right. McBride, even when he is an impulsive madman, is likable and while he is pretty much playing himself here, ARIZONA is a nice showcase of why we all love this guy.

Unfortunately, the story just doesn’t feel as if it was fully realized. Character actors like David Allen Greir, Seth Rogan, and Kaitlin Olson appear and quickly disappear from the story, leaving me with a feeling that I wanted to see more from these characters. Instead you just get a moment where you say, “Hey, I know that guy/gal.” and then they’re gone. Director Jonathan Watson keeps the action and laughs going at a decent clip, but there just isn’t enough story to fill the film. Add in a “twist” ending that is projected from the very beginning and ARIZONA turns out to be a light and breezy highlight of McBride’s comedic charm with some surprising murders along the way.

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