The Kitchen is a Real Kitchen Nightmare [SPOILERS]

Elizabeth Moss, Tiffany Haddish and Melissa McCarthy in “The Kitchen” (2019, Warner Bros. Pictures/New Line Cinema/BRON/DC Vertigo)

The Kitchen is the worst DC film that has come out since Man of Steel was released. It tries to be a smart film about three women (Melissa McCarthy, Elizabeth Moss & Tiffany Haddish) whose husbands (Brian D’Arcy James, Jeremy Bobb, James Badge Dale) were arrested by the FBI and sentenced to three years in Federal Prison. They can’t make money without the aid of their husbands, so they decide to take over the Irish Mafia and organized crime in Hell’s Kitchen. The movie had a lot of potential — a great cast, a competent enough writer/director and a fantastic Graphic Novel to adapt on. Instead of adapting The Kitchen from page to screen, writer/director Andrea Berloff decides to do Widows, written by Lem Dobbs and Leo Rossi, the writers of 2018’s Gotti.

While Gotti overexplains everything, The Kitchen doesn’t explain anything at all. The film opens with zero character development or introduction of the three wives. We know that Claire (Moss) is weak because her husband (Bobb) beats her, we know that Kathy (McCarthy) is a family mom and Ruby (Haddish) isn’t liked by Helen (Margo Martindale), Kevin (Badge Dale)’s mother, because of the color of her skin. The film’s editing is all over the place, you’re not supposed to feel the cuts and the disconinuity. This isn’t Godard’s Breathless. Every single time there would be a cut, it would be abrupt and disjointed. It feels as film editor Christopher Tellefsen (who edited McQueen’s Widows) didn’t know where to cut so the scenes could flow, he just decided to cut randomly and abruptly. Proof of that is that I never thought the film was going to end. Once it does, it ends so abruptly that I thought “Huh…WHAT?” Barely anything was resolved — but that’s OK, because barely anything is explained. Berloff believes you know the characters and everything about the story, because you’ve read the Graphic Novel. I’m sure many people who saw the posters or trailers didn’t think it was based on a Graphic Novel, because it’s so out there in Vertigo’s library. Compared to V For Vendetta, The Kitchen isn’t on the Vertigo’s fans list of priorities. Problem #1 is that they don’t explain anything to you, and the editing makes it really hard for you to actively enjoy the film or at least try to enjoy it.

Problem #2 that The Kitchen has is its shitty morals. This is an incredibly badly timed movie, especially with the recent shootings of El Paso and Dayton. I saw a comment on one of President Donald J. Trump’s Facebook posts by a hardcore pureblood conservative saying “The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. America’s morals are incrementally screwed compared due to the 2nd Amendment. In this movie, the worst character of the movie is Elizabeth Moss’ Claire. Her performance isn’t awful — in fact, every single actor that’s in the film deliver good performances, with the exception of the cartoonishly awful Margo Martindale whose death is unintentionally hilarious and Common whose character is so pointless he becomes Uncommon to the film. When you see him, you’re like, “Huh, what an uncommon character” There are many scenes in the film that are absolutely atrociously hilarious, one of them involve the worst green screen I’ve ever seen since T. Wiseau’s The Room. The green screen is so apparent, even though they could’ve just shot on location at a street. It looks to be a reshoot, and it might be the most embarassing reshoot I’ve seen.

Going back to Claire, she’s treated as “weak” by Jeremy Bobb, unleashing his inner Gregory Sallinger from Season 3 of Jessica Jones. When she rekindles with an old flame, Gabriel (Domnhall Gleeson), she decides to MAN UP (yes, MAN UP) and defend herself. If someone looks at her the wrong way, she points her revolver at her. The moral of her story goes as follows:

If you don’t like someone for whatever season, kill him, kill him now. Don’t hesitate, just fucking DO IT.

The conservatives’ argument on stopping a bad guy with a gun (but in this case, homeless people that beat her up and abusive husbands) is reinforced yet again by Berloff — as we see the true nature of her Conservative political ideologies being rammed into the movie. “Buy a gun and kill everyone you don’t like”. And this doesn’t just go for Claire, who hides a gun under her pillow and kills everyone that breaks in her house with no hesitation whatsoever. Yet, the hypocrisy of that sequence is exposed when she gets killed by the only object she deemed that would protect herself. A bad guy with a gun shot a good guy with a gun — or was it the polar opposite? It depends on which side you’re on. I loathed the film’s morals as we see characters enjoying killing people for pure sport or rushes of adrenaline, hardocre dismemberment and pushing senile, decrepit old people to their deaths, because why not? No one has any remorse to what they’re doing whatsoever and that’s the most frustrating aspect of The Kitchen.

Yes, the cast is star-studded, but every single character is badly written and underdeveloped, especially Common. If he wasn’t in the movie, it would’ve made no difference. He plays an FBI agent who is barely in the movie and then, near the end, we realize he’s corrupt. It’s the perfect definition to “bla bla bla, who cares?”. Melissa McCarthy is probably the only compelling character of the entire movie, because she has a family — which basically means levity for emotional drama. It’s a messy, jumbled, incoherent mess with a 70s spotify playlist ramming through your heads SO MANY late 70s songs to REMIND YOU THAT THIS FILM TAKES PLACE IN THE 70s, with no plot or proper character development that includes terrible conservative morals that guns save lives. Do yourself a favor and skip this one, except if you want to watch the Tenet trailer (for those that haven’t already).

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Maxance Vincent

I currently study film and rant, from time to time, on provincial politics.