A Decent Watch || Review of Quiz Lady (2023)
I saw Awkwafina and Sandra Oh on the film poster of this recent release and knew I must watch it. I admire these ladies for their acting talents, especially Sandra Oh. Their collaboration would certainly be an interesting one and it turned out so.
Directed by Jessica You, Quiz Lady (2023) is an American comedy that celebrates sisterhood, self-acceptance and second chances. The film is about Anne Yum (played by Awkwafina) who watches every episode of "Can't Stop The Quiz", a nighttime quiz show right from a young age. She's intelligent but shy and battles anxiety when others look at her. Her one constant companion is her obese pug, Linguini.
Anne gets a call that her mother is missing from the nursing home. She arrives there and at the same time, her estranged sister, Jenny (played by Sandra Oh) appears in a tight black dress believing their mother is dead. The sisters discover their mother fled to Macau. Jenny begs to spend a few days with Anne in her apartment. At night, when Jenny sees Anne answer all the questions posed on the quiz show, she makes a video of her which goes viral.
Anne is unhappy about it and becomes anxious. A bookie appears to say their mother owes him eight grand in gambling debts so he steals Anne's pug Linguini and threatens to release it after the debt is paid. Will Anne be willing to appear on the quiz show to free her pig?
This comedy is not that great but focused on bringing two estranged sisters together. One thing the audience would agree on is that Sandra Oh and Awkwafina deliver impressive performances as estranged sisters, Anne and Jenny, who despite the odds against them, embark on a funny road trip to save their dog. Or should I say, the impressive performance was more from Sandra Oh. She had a blast with her character, more than I expected. Jenny is fun, flighty, has blue-pinkish highlights in her hair and seems to have the solution to every problem.
Awkwafina's performance is sort of muted. Her Anne is the film's central protagonist but she doesn't stand out. She's quiet, shy and anxious. Her one-liners are a little disappointing for me as I wanted to see and know more about her character. The only scene where this actress loosens up is when Sandra (Jenny) gives her a street drug for anxiety and she becomes high.
The cinematography is not bad and the pacing of the film is good. There are a few scenes where Sandra poked fun at the topics of racism and Asian stereotypes. The emotional and heartwarming scenes are great. I love how director Jessica Yu blends in short flashbacks from the past to explain the present and bring to light the heart of the story. It also sends the message that it's never too late to mend broken relationships and pursue goals that prove too tough to accomplish.
Overall, Quiz Lady is a decent, fun watch, the kind you enjoy on a Sunday evening, lounging on a couch. Though the performances are solid, the makers don't take themselves too seriously. So if you're looking to brighten your day, you may see this film. I'll give it 3 stars out of 5.
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Images are screenshots from the movie
Posted using CineTV