Desperados (2020)

“Get your life together.”

By the time we finally arrive at the end of Netflix’s Desperados, an almost laudably lazy addition to the romantic comedy genre, the film’s desperate protagonist Wesley (Nasim Pedrad, trying to be Sandra Bullock but coming up way short) says, “I had a completely different narrative in my mind.” That seems to be true to the film itself, at least initially, before it takes the rude and crude humor into all of the expected places. There isn’t an original bone or memorable frame to be had in the entire picture, to the point you’d expect this dated streamer to have been produced by the photocopy shop Kinko’s then sold off by the rebranded FedEx conglomerate. We’re seven months in to this nightmare of a year and I honestly think Desperados managed to make it worse.

Technically speaking, the aforementioned Wesley is a guidance counselor. Just not a formally employed one yet. Her love life mostly consists of blind dates gone bad, set up by her more interesting friends. Brooke (Anna Camp) is on the brink of divorce and doesn’t wait until 5 o’clock to have a drink. Kaylie (Sarah Burns) is happily married and frustrated with her body, longing to give birth and slowly coming to the realization that she’s barren. Either one would’ve made for a better lead role. But because Desperados relies on the stereotypes and story tropes of bad 90’s movies, the main character just so happens to be the trio’s least likable. Wesley gets in her own way, is a pushover one minute and a self-absorbed mess the next, and is incapable of self-actualization without feeling loved by a man. Sounds a bit reductive, don’t you think?

Desperados has a post-it note sized story that’s been blown up to a screenplay’s size and filled with all kinds of empty plot. Wesley goes on a very bad and bland date with Sean (Lamorne Morris), eventually meets her preconceived dream man in the handsome Jared (Robbie Amell), and coerces her gals into a Mexico trip after sending the latter a profane email after wrongly assuming he had ghosted Wesley. That’s where things somehow get even worse. Sean happens to be at the resort, the two share glances, the friends become combative, and there’s even a few pedophilia driven jokes woven in for good measure. I mean, at that point, why not stoop to such low levels?

I went into Desperados completely blind. Didn’t watch a trailer or read a synopsis. I had time to kill and it was in the Netflix top 10 most viewed, so I clicked play. And about 30 minutes in I literally noted, “No way this was written/directed by a woman.” Boy was I wrong. JP’s direction is a paint by numbers exercise, but ever worse is the tasteless and regressive script by Ellen Rapoport. It lacks beats and rhythm and forces actors to fill empty spaces with empty laughter. In that regard, Desperados actually lives up to its title, and it feels like a lame Farrelly Brother’s movie that’s been made with a Hallmark Channel budget, trying to mimic yet flatlining the brilliant Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I suggest you swipe left on this disaster for your own sake. There’s no mirage of love to be found in this hopeless desert.

“This whole thing is a joke.”

Rating: 0.5 out of 5

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