Friday, 10 July 2020

‘Wrong Missy’ comedic misadventures; ‘Billions’ returns




‘THE WRONG MISSY’ ON NETFLIX

A Happy Madison Productions TV film on Netflix, “The Wrong Missy” is designed for the aficionados of the Adam Sandler school of comedy, and that’s not such a bad thing if you have the time, and don’t we all right now, for some mindless fun.

Comedy is often cringe-worthy entertainment that is either intentional or not, and if the former, the goal is to be unsettling, as if you were at an Andrew Dice Clay stand-up routine in his early days on the club circuit.

“The Wrong Missy” fits the bill in some ways to cause one to wince or recoil one moment and at the very next to be amused with the antics of the zany performance of the rubber-faced Lauren Lapkus’ Missy, the blind date from hell.

David Spade’s Tim Morris, looking to move up the corporate ladder at his loan company, plays it straight as an ordinary Everyman rather his usual snarky persona perfected over the years in show business.

Tim’s best friend at the office is Nick Swardson’s Nate from HR, who happens to know too much about Tim’s personal life. An upcoming company retreat in Hawaii suggests that Tim needs a girlfriend to come along for the trip.

A blind date arranged by Satan results when Tim meets Missy who just happens to be so crazy that she practically instigates a bar fight that would have Tim on the receiving end of a serious beatdown.

Following the blind date, an accidental mix-up with luggage at an airport causes Tim to meet another Melissa (Molly Sims), a former Miss Maryland, and after spending time together, they discover having all of the same likes.

Later, prior to the Hawaii trip, Tim sends a text invite to the new woman of his dreams to join him on this excursion, only to find too late that he asked the nightmare blind date instead.

What ensues may be predictable, as Tim is horrified at Missy’s increasing bizarre antics that just might derail his promotion by corporate mogul Jack Winstone (Goeff Pierson) who has taken control of the company.

“The Wrong Missy” could be dismissed by some as bargain basement comedy, but that would ignore some very funny one-liners and wild comic antics from Lauren Lapkus. It’s worthy of an R rating, so enjoy at your own risk.



‘BILLIONS’ ON SHOWTIME

Characters without a moral compass, regardless of their position in finance or the upper echelons of government, have provided for a highly entertaining run on Showtime’s “Billions” series, now in its fifth season.

One needs a scorecard to keep track of the sleazy machinations of high-powered players on either side of the law, as shifting alliances, backstabbing and double-dealing are the modus operandi of those who lack any shred of integrity.

Last season, Paul Giamatti’s Chuck Rhodes, New York’s Attorney General who got elected despite his notoriety for deviant proclivities, and Damian Lewis’ Bobby Axelrod, a ruthless billionaire hedge-fund manager, managed to be allies of a sort.

Well, disabuse yourself of any notion that there would be a long-lasting alliance between the top lawman of the Empire State and the power-mad manipulator of the financial markets. It will be more fun if they go back to trying to destroy one another.

Coming back into the fold at Axelrod’s Axe Capital is financial whiz Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon), the former employee who had become a rival. Taylor’s return marks an interesting dynamic with her people adapting to Axe’s culture.

One of the fascinating angles from the beginning has been the fact that Chuck Rhodes’ wife Wendy (Maggie Siff) has been the resident counselor for Axelrod and his staff during the times that her husband and boss were at odds.

But the marriage of Chuck and Wendy has been on the rocks, going back to when Chuck decided to unburden himself in a public manner of the couple’s strange world of sexual masochism complete with the dominatrix accouterments.

Now that Wendy and her husband have gone their separate ways, Chuck’s teaching a law course at an Ivy League college has placed him in a potential romantic orbit with sociology professor Catherine Brant (Julianna Margulies).

Meanwhile, even though Axelrod may have to watch his back from the Attorney General’s office, he faces a more pressing adversary in the unctuous billionaire investor Mike Prince (Corey Stoll) who presents a challenge by inviting Axelrod to a corporate retreat.

Despite Prince’s high-minded talk of team effort and giving back to society, the battle lines are drawn not only on the corporate front but also when Axelrod takes great interest in the avant-garde artist Nico Tanner (Frank Grillo) discovered by his rival.

For reasons too obvious, the great fun is watching the swaggering titans of finance and government sparring in cage matches where none of the combatants are particularly likable or righteous.

“Billions” continues to intrigue with its Darwinian survival of the fittest maneuverings of the overbearing and duplicitous government officials and rapacious corporate raiders. Enjoy the psychological warfare that ensues.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

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