Review by Camden Ferrell
Ken Mok is a veteran television producer who is responsible for many shows such as America’s Next Top Model. After an illustrious television career, he enters the film world with his first feature that he both wrote and directed. The Right One is a romantic comedy whose zany premise unfortunately doesn’t work amongst its already uneven execution.
Sara is a romance novelist with a severe case of writer’s block. While aimlessly searching for inspiration, she meets Godfrey. She quickly notices that he constantly changes personas throughout the day. After she finds inspiration, she also discovers more about Godfrey’s past trauma. This is a premise that is very cliché, and its attempts to be unique requires a lot of suspension of belief at times.
Mok’s script is messy throughout. It’s full of forced and unrealistic dialogue that doesn’t flow well. The exposition is poorly delivered, and a lot of the plot progression is clunky. Even though it is a comedy, there also is a shortage of jokes and one-liners that land properly. It doesn’t do much to overcome the tired tropes of the genre, and it finds itself rehashing boilerplate story beats.
Unfortunately, his direction doesn’t do much to help the film either. The blocking is static and bland, and it doesn’t appear to have a confident artistic vision behind the camera. Despite his experience with television, it seems his skills don’t properly translate to this medium. Overall, the execution feels very lackluster and lifeless.
The acting is fairly questionable even though it does sometimes show itself off as the movie’s most valuable asset. Cleopatra Coleman (The Last Man on Earth) leads the film as Sara. While she has demonstrated her natural talent for comedy in the past, this movie seems to be a misstep. Her performance is uneven and inconsistent, and she doesn’t have much chemistry with her co-stars.
Nick Thune stars alongside Coleman as Godfrey. His role was obviously the most demanding due to his many personalities, but it comes off as juvenile and over the top. He also lacks much chemistry with his co-stars, and his performance is more of a caricature than anything else. Even though the acting leaves a lot to be desired, there are a small handful of moments throughout where the two leads can be mildly enjoyable.
This is a plot that is contrived and unbalanced, and the film is a tonal mess. Even though it clocks in at just over ninety minutes, the pacing feels very sluggish, and the narrative is too all over the place. It’s a romantic comedy that is painfully lacking in both romance and comedy, and it seems to squander any potential it may have had.
The Right One is a shaky and messy film debut from Mok. This may not be a film that most will enjoy. The movie suffers from a lack of energy and emotion, and its stars fail to kindle a spark that could possibly compensate for the numerous shortcomings of this film.
The Right One is in select theaters and VOD on February 5.
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