Reviewed by Adam Donato
Nothing is more subjective than comedy. That being said, if someone was opposed to the concept of a comedy film where the plot is centered around the COVID-19 pandemic, then that would be fair. Bo Burnham basically made a movie about his time spent during the pandemic and how mentally damaging the experience was. Is it in poor taste or is it timely and relevant? It could go either way, but that’s not the question at hand. The question is: Is Stop and Go good?
The film is written by its two main stars Whitney Call and Mallory Everton. It’s also directed by Everton who shared directorial duties with Stephen Meek. Call and Everton are most known for their various roles in the sketch comedy show called Studio C. The two ladies play sisters who go on a road trip during the pandemic to save their at-risk grandmother from getting COVID at her nursing home. Along the way, they goof around with each other and text some guy one of them hooked up with right before the pandemic started.
It goes without saying that the two leads have chemistry. They've been working together for about a decade, so they better have chemistry. That’s not the problem. The problem is that they are not funny. Making funny faces is good if you’re Jim Carrey or if your audience is just small children, but here it was just annoying. It’s interesting that the two leads wrote the script because it would not be surprising to find out that there was no script. They probably just wrote a loose outline of the plot and thought they would be funny enough to improvise the whole movie in the car. The nicest way to say that the movie is not funny is by looking at the genres on IMDb. It’s listed as a drama and nothing else. That’s fair.
The plot is also terrible. There’s little to none character or plot resolution that could be considered satisfying. Remember the movie Locke starring Tom Hardy? The movie where a man is in a car on the phone for 90 minutes. This movie is very reminiscent of that as so much of it is just them sitting in the car. It's the easiest type of movie to film: just them goofing off with each other in the car. Nothing happens. There’s a kid taking care of their mice and some guy is accidentally sending pictures of his junk to one of the girls. That is the entire second act of the movie. None of it is funny. The only interesting part about the story is how it portrays the fear and confusion associated with living through the beginning of the pandemic. Disinfecting the groceries? That one hit home. Relatives who think it's all a hoax? That one might be too soon.
Overall, it’s harmless. There’s nothing really offensive in regards to the story being about the pandemic. It’s a thing that happened and changed everything forever. Of course there are going to be movies about it. To answer the question, it’s not a good movie. The humor is annoying, the plot barely exists, and the setting will just remind you how everything sucks. If you’re going to watch this movie, wear a mask so you can use it to cover your eyes and take a nap.
Stop and Go hits theaters and VOD on October 1.