A stable forged comes near rescuing a weak script
It’s equally frustrating that Gaudet and Pullapilly appear to be much more invested in the B-plot of Queenpins than in their main characters. Or maybe it’s just that Vince Vaughn and Paul Walter Hauser make a far more dynamic and really strange couple than a calm and collected federal agent or clumsy and stressed would-be cop. For his part, Hauser seems to be closest to the emotional core of the film and is reminiscent of a more confident version of the title character he played in Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell”. And Vaughn, who is so known for playing the fast-paced rat-a-tat Chatterbox in many raunchy comedies of the early 2000s, plays things more evenly and relaxed, and balances out well with Hauser’s more eccentric personality. For much of the film, even though their characters haunt our protagonists, the latter duo is so joyfully unaware that it is being haunted that it is like two different films rolled into one.
The problem is twofold: One of these two mini-films is far more entertaining (though sometimes a little too easily obsessed with gross humor to just be in the movie, like Hauser’s character turning his daily toilet schedule upside down with messy results ), and the weaker mini-movie has material that feels a lot less concrete. If anything, the situation should be reversed. If either half of the film is weakened, shouldn’t the part about the inexplicably successful criminals be rounded off more completely?
While Queenpins was inspired by a real-life story, it only takes a quick Google search for the film to find out exactly how much creative freedom has been taken with the story. And that’s okay – the dark humor of this film arguably too knowledgeable and shrewd to be based on pure fact, and creative freedom is denied in many different films. It’s the nature of business. But the movie’s blasé attitude towards the crimes committed and the strangely happy conclusion that reinforces the idea that crime can be good and that the people trying to bring you down just need to loosen up a bit also begs the question on why the film itself? there should even be. If the plan that Connie and JoJo are coming up with is by and large so tiny, if nobody really cares, if the going gets tough, why make the film in the first place? “Why is there this film?” is not a bad question for any movie you watch. But the big ones, regardless of genre or release date, can answer this question with confidence. “Queenpins,” as much intriguing detail as it uses, feels like its answer to why it exists is a half-hearted shrug.
/ Film rating: 5 out of 10