Review: 'Arizona' a shallow comic-gore exercise

Tom Long
Special to The Detroit News
A blood-spattered Rosemarie DeWitt, left, comforts a petrified Lolli Sorenson in the comedic thriller “Arizona.”

Rosemarie DeWitt is an acting treasure, one of those people who specialize in playing memorable supporting roles in films and on television.

Many of those projects are quite good — "Rachel Getting Married," "Your Sister's Sister," "La La Land," "Kill the Messenger," "Mad Men," "Olive Kitteredge," "United States of Tara" — while some are admittedly "meh." She's a working actress, you hit highs and lows.

But wait -- here comes something called "Arizona" and DeWitt is (finally) the lead. Could this perhaps be her breakthrough to the varsity team?

Uh, no.

This 85-minute, "Ten Little Indian"-style comedy-horror mash-up is basically a cameo-studded muddle that may have looked good on paper, but movie screens aren't made of paper. Not that any of it is DeWitt's fault, she's as game as ever. But being game isn't near enough to elevate this shallow exercise.

DeWitt plays Cassie, a real estate agent in Arizona selling identical homes in identically empty tract lots in Arizona just after the financial collapse of 2008. Those poor fools -- including Cassie -- who have bought said homes now find themselves financially underwater and going down fast.

Which leads to an altercation between disgruntled homeowner Sonny (Danny McBride) and Cassie's boss, who ends up dead. Cassie, having witnessed the murder, is taken hostage.

At which point a line of people begin entering the proceedings only to die quickly. Can Cassie survive?

That's it. That's the whole movie.

The audience knows nothing about these characters and thus feels nothing for them. The parade of cameos — Seth Rogen, Kaitlin Olson, Luke Wilson, David Alan Grier — makes you wonder why these people can't find something better to do with their time. And McBride is pretty much playing the same unhinged character he always plays, just with a bit more blood.

Call your agent, Rosemarie. You're better than this. Actually you're way, way better than this.

Tom Long is a longtime cultural critic




Not rated

Running time: 85 minutes