“I can see you’ve got brains, and I know you got money, but we got one thing that you don’t. We got criminals.”
The Kitchen, based on a DC graphic novel, tells the story of three women, who are forced to find work of their own, when their husbands are shipped off to jail. But with a lack of working experience, the three women take on the Irish mob who run Hell’s Kitchen, only to bring about their inner tough woman persona, while taking over the streets themselves. It would be easy to make a snarky comment about a movie called The Kitchen. Blah, blah, blah… this movie couldn’t take the heat so it had to get out of the kitchen, or this kitchen needs a remodel. But I’ll save myself the embarrassment, more so, because I already heard somebody seriously make that joke, and it failed. But it would also be easy enough to get excited about a female driven crime drama, if said female driven film was good enough to get excited about.
The Kitchen has so much wrong with it, it’s hard to critique it in the most respective way possible. The three main anti-heroes of this film were possibly the dullest mafia types of any movie I have ever seen. Incredibly far from any Goodfellas type acting. Melissa McCarthy who plays Kathy, the more respectful mobster of the group, often sets herself up for being taken advantage of. While the other two women, Claire and Ruby, played by Elisabeth Moss and Tiffany Haddish, are more the muscle of the operation. That’s all good and fine, but these women often take it too far, or try to force their tough attitude. But what The Kitchen significantly bombed on was putting Moss as a “background character”? With a resume as accomplished as Moss’, shouldn’t it be that she would not play the character who is the most underdeveloped? Not to mention, each lady’s storyline is so messy, that by the end of the film, it’s hard to really understand what this was all for.
See, the overall story is rather straight forward. Husbands get sent to jail, while the wives are left to find a way to provide for their families. But the film digs itself into a huge hole as our main characters’ storylines begin to make absolutely no sense. It’s as though the film had a quota to fill in deaths and attitude ridden one-liners. Rather than be original, the film has no concrete idea of what it wants to become, so it ends up just throwing everything in but “the kitchen” sink. (Is there another joke there? I don’t know.) Andrea Berloff, most known for her writing skills, inserts herself into the directing chair this go-around. But in a year where we’ve seen another screenwriter fail in the directing aspect (X-Men: Dark Phoenix) it’s easy to say that screenwriters are not having a good year when it comes to taking on the directing role.
It’s hard to point out exactly where The Kitchen failed, because there’s problems coming from every which way. This film had three female powerhouses behind it, but in the end, that’s all it had. The trailer for this film turned out to have more bite than the actual film itself. I would recommend, that if you are craving that female-driven, my husband is gone and now I have to provide for my family, heist type movie, look no further then Widows. But if The Kitchen has just left you with a bad taste in your mouth, I don’t blame you.
Written and Directed by: Andrea Berloff
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss