Wednesday, January 27, 2021


The latest from writer/director Miranda July borders at times at being too quirky for it's own good, but it's also a surprisingly sweet story about one hell of a dysfunctional family and finding love in the most unexpected places. Richard Jenkins, Debra Winger, and Evan Rachel Wood star as a family of low-rent con artists in a perpetual desperate need of cash. When the latest attempt to bilk $1,500 out of the airlines fails to earn them the quick score to pay for one of the oddest apartments in the history of cinema, it also introduces the family to a new friend (Gina Rodriguez) on the return flight.

The script takes some twist and turns, as various cons go awry in ways that lead the absurdly named Old Dolio (Wood) to finally come to terms with who her parents are while finding friendship, and perhaps more, in Melanie (Rodriguez). While taking the place of a student (Rachel Redleaf) in a positive parenting class, Old Dolio begins to start to see the world differently while also becoming jealous of the attention her parents are showing Melanie (although they have ulterior motives).

Wood is fascinating here as the smart but unworldly con artist in training who fears to be touched in even the smallest of ways. Melanie is an interesting character obviously searching for something missing in her own life. Taking part in the family's schemes, and even presenting an idea of her own, offers some momentary excitement. It also makes her aware of Old Dolio who she tries to give everything her parents have been withholding from her for 26 years. Rodriguez brings the character to life while the script shows us just enough to buy Melanie taking Old Dolio under her wing at the critical moment. For a film that teases possible romantic interest between the younger characters, Kajillionaire is remarkably chaste for today's cinema but succeeds in delivering an ending that fits the odd tale Miranda July has chosen to weave.

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