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Review: Nothing to care about in 'I Care A Lot'

Rosamund Pike stars in misguided black comedy

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

Marla Grayson is really easy to hate, which makes "I Care a Lot" awfully hard to like.

Marla — played with teeth clenching raw nerve by a fully committed Rosamund Pike — is a private caregiver who preys on senior citizens by gaining control of their estates, placing them in assisted living facilities against their will and bleeding them dry. To her, it's a game. And as if that's not enough to make her despicable, she also vapes. Incessantly. 

Rosamund Pike in "I Care A Lot."

Bad meets evil when Marla identifies Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest) as her next takedown. She's a "cherry": rich, lives alone, no family. Easy pickins. Ah, but it turns out Jennifer is tied in deep to the Russian mob (!!!), and Marla riles one of her associates, Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage) when she places her in a senior center. Thus begins a war between two thoroughly unlikable parties, which is like watching a possum and a rat fight over garbage in an alley. Have fun guys, just keep me out of it. 

Look, there's nothing wrong with a good anti-hero, but viewers need a way in, something in their characters to relate to. That relatability is what made monsters like Tony Soprano or Walter White guys you ended up inviting into your home and rooting for even in their darkest hours. But with Marla, there's nothing to grab onto. Which makes "I Care A Lot" an extremely tough sell.

Writer-director J Blakeson ("The 5th Wave") tries to position "I Care A Lot" as a pitch-black comedy or a satire aimed at, hmm, the state, maybe? But he ends up with a noxious story with a wildly inconsistent tone that winds up giving in to the very sense of moralizing the film pretends to rail against. Who cares.

'I Care A Lot'

GRADE: D

Rated R: for language throughout and some violence

Running time: 118 minutes

On Netflix 

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama