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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Desperados’ on Netflix, a Hapless Rom-Com with an All-Too-Appropriate Title

Netflix original movie Desperados spends the majority of its 105 minutes daring us not to call it the English translation of its title. The comedy from first-time feature director LP stars ex-SNLer Nasim Pedrad as a woman unlucky in, well, everything, rendering her the etymological derivation of the English translation of its title. Will her attempt to change her fortunes be funny or just, well, you know, insert the etymological derivation of the English translation of its title here?

‘DESPERADOS’: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

The Gist: We meet Wesley (Pedrad) as she’s being interviewed by a nun for a guidance counselor job at a Catholic school. She rambles tangentially, on and on, headlong into a lighthearted pro-masturbation treatise. Wesley, I mean, not the nun. Perhaps it goes without saying that she doesn’t get the gig. This is her life in microcosm: she can’t seem to succeed by being her own slightly offbeat self. She’s got no job and no romantic interests, and her adorable little apartment is cluttered with dead plants, bills with PAST DUE notifications on the envelopes, a collection of bridesmaid glasses and egg-freezing brochures from fertility clinics. While visiting her best friends Brooke (Anna Camp) and Kaylie (Sarah Burns), a mighty wind kicks up and knocks a beam on her car — her life is so cruddy right now, even her Toyota gets some pole, and she can’t.

A friend sets her up on a blind date with Sean (Lamorne Morris), who ends it after about 10 seconds, because she chatters mindlessly through the topics of weddings and children. She huffs out to the sidewalk, stumbles and concusses herself, and wakes up to a bleary image of dreamboat sports agent Jared (Robbie Amell). A heavyset bearded gentleman who identifies himself as a first responder but isn’t nearly as conventionally handsome as Jared suggests she go to the hospital, but no, she’d rather accept Jared’s invitation to go home with him. Good thing he isn’t a creep, because she’s already head over heels for the guy, literally, what with the ice pack on her head and all.

Wesley and Jared enjoy a month of bliss, coalescing with their first night spent doing the horizontal hi-there on a bed of rose petals. But five days pass and Wesley hasn’t heard a peep, so she, Brooke and Kaylie drink several glasses of wine and compose a nasty email insulting him for the size of his eggplant emoji and his dead father. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as they hit the SEND button, Jared calls: he’s been in a coma for five days after a car accident in Mexico. Total whoopsies. So Wesley talks her two besties into doing what anyone else would do in this situation, take a trip to Mexico, where she’ll commandeer Jared’s laptop and delete the email before he sees it, a plan that absolutely will go off without a single incident of dolphin-humping, any accusations of pedophilia or an insanely coincidental run-in with Sean, right? NEVER, I say, NEVER.

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: This is a straight-up Girls Trip rip-off, a Bridesmaids break-and-enter, a Bad Moms burgle.

Performance Worth Watching: Morris is surprisingly strong in a movie that doesn’t deserve the effort. It probably helps that the screenplay saddles him with the least amount of excruciating, mortifying scenes.

Memorable Dialogue: Let’s play a game of Decontextualize an Embarrassing Movie Quote via a line spoken by a Mexican resort employee: “And I assure you, your dildo will not be let in!”

Sex and Skin: When Wesley is forced to wander the resort in an accidental state of total undress, the movie strategically places props in the foreground so we can’t see her bits, an ancient visual-comedy chestnut that deserves to be tossed on an open fire.

Our Take: This insufferably dumb, horrifically annoying movie is an interminable display of Human People Do Not Act Like This. Desperados is jam-packed with contrived, wacky bullshit including, but not limited to: Wesley getting belted in the face with an erect porpoise penis, in slow motion. Wesley getting electrocuted. Wesley getting tossed in Mexican jail. Wesley’s battery-operated wand o’ intimacy (wink nudge) being the object of public scrutiny. Wesley repeatedly being accused of trying to seduce a 12-year-old boy. Wesley continually insisting that Kaylie’s cat looks like Hitler. I’ve asserted many times before that floating animated visual representations of texts and emails are a sign of a terrible movie, but I hereby add all of the aforementioned to the list.

Every joke here hits like a Gong Show hammer swung with extreme prejudice. It’s directed with the technical veracity of a Happy Madison production. It appears to have been edited with a melon baller. It has the shameless chutzpah to render “ow my balls” a punchline. It blends Sex and the City filthy-femme talk, incessant slapstick and listless stabs at satire (e.g., a Heather Graham cameo as a “Goop wannabe” new age guru) without the slightest hint of originality or inspiration. The cast does what it can with an awful script spiked with floundering attempts at politically incorrect comedy, but it’s like trying to start a car without any keys, or a steering column, or an engine. I commend Lamorne Morris for trying to bring this thing back to Earth with some pragmatic charm, but the poor guy is dangling from a blimp headed straight into the sun.

Our Call: SKIP IT. Desperados is a bad bad bad bad bad bad movie. Bad.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com or follow him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Stream Desperados on Netflix

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