Lou Review: Allison Janney deserves a better rip off

It’s fun to watch a grizzled Janney grab a big gun and go all out on Commando, but this seedy and ridiculous Netflix thriller lets her down.

So many veteran and must-see actors have been thrown into poorly done “Taken” ripoffs over the last twelve years – including Jennifer Garner, Pierce Brosnan, Zoe Saldaña, Liam Neeson, Liam Neeson and Liam Neeson – and I still couldn’t help but Excited about the idea of ​​casting Allison Janney as a grizzled “old woman” who grabs the nearest shotgun when a military-fit villain kidnaps the little girl who lives on her property. CJ Cregg plays Clint Eastwood? If that’s not enough to breathe new life into the wildest subgenre of action cinema, then I don’t know what is.

Neither does anyone appear to be involved in Netflix’s “Lou,” a thriller so boring and flimsy it’s hard to imagine this once-in-a-lifetime Paramount production would ever end up anywhere else.

The premise couldn’t be simpler, even if the scraps of a plot that screenwriters Maggie Cohn and Jack Stanley layer on top of it are impressively absurd: Janney plays Lou, a suicidal weirdo who lives on a forested island off the coast of Seattle with her Dog Jax (believed to be named after the former Vanderpump Rules character of the same name, although “Lou” is set during the Reagan administration for reasons never fully understood). For the past few months, Lou has been renting out the trailer behind her house to a widowed mother named Hannah (Jurnee Smollett) and her daughter Vee (Ridley Asha Bateman), both of whom love to antagonize them at any opportunity – Lou is oddly aggressive about renting someone who plans to blow his brains out with a shotgun once night falls.

However, in a shocking turn of events, Lou is prevented from killing herself 10 minutes into the film that bears her name. Hannah bursts into the house at just the right moment with an urgent request for help. Good news: Her husband Philip (Logan Marshall-Green) is very much alive! Bad news: He kidnapped Vee during the worst rainstorm in decades. Oh, he’s also a former Green Beret and brought two friends along for fun. Unfortunately, Lou has some relevant experience of her own – a unique set of skills she honed as a CIA spy.

Thus begins a wet and drawn-out game of cat-and-mouse that Underworld: Blood Wars director Anna Foerster has a hard time saving from her own nonsense. Some of this nonsense is amusingly ridiculous, at least as far as Philip’s sociopathy is concerned; Between his fixation with the band Toto, his penchant for squashing butterflies with his bare hands, and the adorable little bombshell he makes out of Vee’s old music box in act one, you can almost feel a movie with a real (disturbed) personality being underneath cheap thriller smothered on screen. And the spooky postcards he leaves…don’t even get me started on spooky postcards.

But even despite a wild — and incredible — twist in Act II that reshapes the relationship between the three main characters of this COVID-friendly tale, “Lou” still feels like someone got “Allison Janney in ‘Taken'” entered 2 into Dall·E and then used the images that the algorithm spit out for storyboarding. As funny as it is to see a stone-faced Janney rant about how “the world isn’t a playground” and beat a bunch of bad guys to death with a coffee pot, Foerster’s film is frustratingly insignificant to both.

Janney makes a great killer curmudgeon, but the script’s big reveal puts the actress at odds with a “layered” character who was never given a chance to transcend the most fundamental aspects of her archetype. Worse still, she’s only allowed to kill three people! The character she played in “Mom” probably achieved a higher body count! (I haven’t seen that show, but there was certainly a murder scattered throughout those 170 episodes). Most of “Lou” is wasted with its reluctant heroine nagging Hannah to move faster as they run through the rain or climb muddy embankments while Philip waits for them in a cave somewhere.

A movie about Allison Janney becoming Commando on a bunch of hapless redshirts sounds absolutely fantastic – at best, Lou just proves it would be.

Grade: D+

“Lou” begins streaming on Netflix on Friday, September 23.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/09/lou-review-allison-janney-netflix-1234765669/ Lou Review: Allison Janney deserves a better rip off

Lindsay Lowe

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