The 400-Word Review: Desperados
By Sean Collier
July 1, 2020
“Romcom,” that headline-friendly mashing of genre, is more a continuum than a designation. On one end sit entertainments akin to old-time romance, unlikely to produce much laughter; these are primarily crafted to make audiences feel for the plight of the lovelorn lead. On the other side of the spectrum are full-bore comedies with romance as their nominal subject; while the viewer may not be too wrapped up in the protagonist’s journey, there will be slapstick laughs aplenty.
“Desperados,” an eminently agreeable comedy debuting on Netflix, aims squarely at the middle of the spectrum. We’re rooting for our heroine, but not so much that we don’t laugh when she is battered by the errant genitalia of a passing dolphin.
And no, I’ve never written those words in that particular combination before.
Wesley (Nasim Pedrad, in a charming and confident star turn) is not thrilled with her early ’30s. She’s struggling to find a job as a guidance counselor, unlucky in love and ashamed of her arrested development. Her two best friends (Anna Camp and Sarah Burns) have their own problems, but have at least outpaced Wesley in the game of life.
After an abbreviated blind date with Sean, a dashing but disinterested stranger (Lamorne Morris), Wesley endures a textbook meet-cute with Jared (Robbie Amell) and decides he’s the grown-up she needs to lead her into the future. All is well until he vanishes after their first sleepover; enraged, she sends an over-the-top kiss-off email.
Upon learning that he was in a coma in Mexico, she greatly regrets the tone of her message.
She knows he can’t have seen it yet, so she rallies her friends and heads to Cabo to intercept the digital diatribe. Cue an escalating sequence of wacky, hare-brained and occasionally criminal antics to try and set things right.
Perhaps “Desperados” does not so much aim for the middle of the romcom spectrum as shift back and forth across it, as each scene requires. Admittedly, that makes for a somewhat tonally dissonant picture; at some points it feels like there aren’t quite enough laughs, and at others it feels like Wesley is being treated harshly. (Again: that dolphin.) There’s an advantage in that approach, though; while not every scene works, the film has moments of strength in a variety of modes. It may not add up to more than a cozy evening’s diversion, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
My Rating: 6/10
“Desperados” is streaming on Netflix.