Drive-Away Dolls | Review by: Benjamin Garrett

Well, I guess we know who the goofy Coen brother is. Drive-Away Dolls throws the vibe back to the directing duo’s classics, like Raising Arizona and Fargo. However, Ethan’s first solo effort is all slapstick and no nuance, missing the balance necessary to reach that Coen brothers classic status. 

Clocking in at a breezy 84 minutes, there’s a lot of ground covered (literally and narratively) in such a short amount of time. This lesbian road trip crime caper fires out plot points and dialogue in rapid succession, without skipping a beat. It’s relatively well paced and straight to the point, but it also doesn’t give the narrative time to unfold in a natural way. I appreciate a lean movie as much as the next person, but this one basically rushes itself through its own story. The film is finished with plenty of wacky transitions and trippy psychedelics in an attempt to replicate a particular style, but these choices are more gimmicky than they are effective.

I’m a huge fan of Margaret Qualley, and once again she knocks her performance out of the park. Her character’s twangy southern accent and unfiltered, foul mouthed energy was the highlight of the movie for me. In fact, she’s so good that she overshadows everyone else. Geraldine Viswanathan gives a solid performance, but she isn’t able to match Qualley’s energy in their scenes together - which account for about 80% of the runtime. I know her character is supposed to be the shy, reserved one, but the stark personality difference made it difficult to buy into their friendship. Colman Domingo is great in his small supporting role, but I wish he had more to do, given how talented he is. There are also a number of fun cameos I enjoyed, including the king of pop up appearances himself - Matt Damon. 

Drive-Away Dolls reaches for that old-school Coen Brothers style, but ends up feeling more like a pale imitation of several of the duo’s better films. It’s funny, breezy and entertaining, but fails to leave a lasting impression beyond Margaret Qualley’s killer performance. 


Review by: Benjamin Garrett

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