Investigating a homo-cide. One of your butt-buddies… was killed. To death.

Not all Netflix Originals are bound to be as profound as Okja or as darkly funny and simultaneously violent as I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore. Adam Sandler’s recent movies (Sandy Wexler, The Do-Over etc) have all debuted on the streaming service. Who would pay for a cinema ticket to a Sandler movie anyway? A current trend sees actors with main parts on Netflix Original television shows appearing in one-off movies, as with Elijah Wood in Dirk Gently and then I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore and Bob Odenkirk with Better Call Saul and Girlfriend’s Day.

Running in at an odd 70 or so minutes, a full 20 minutes below the average running time, Odenkirk co-wrote this off-beat noir comedy drama about a greeting card writer with writers block. So, Barton Fink if Barton Fink had all of two or three lines write in total before his sanity slipped, suffocated by John Goodman’s giant form. A new holiday, Girlfriend’s Day, which really only feels like Valentine’s Day 2.0, sees card writers vying for the number one spot on card shelves.

Natural funny man Odenkirk delivers his usual blend of likeable underdog and offbeat comedy as Ray. Upon waking from a dream wherein a humanoid owl screws his ex-wife, he smashes a photo frame and the broken glass cuts a tendon in his hands. Thus, of course, his writer’s block is worsened. This rather short dark comedy takes a funny stab at the world of greeting cards, as if there is some dark, hush-hush underbelly where writers can be overly congratulated and hyped up for just a few generic lines.

Girlfriend’s Day is a film not for everybody, given it’s 5.3 rating on iMDb, but I find myself enjoying it nonetheless. The humour is bleak, the colour pallete a muted grey, and the tone takes a sharp right turn, seeing Odenkirk become tangled in a mysterious murder web of deceit and danger. There’s a sprinkle of Coen Brothers thrown into the mix, as well as some of the striking framing and composition similar to that of Better Call Saul.

Don’t be fooled by iMDB’s low rating; some of the top 250 are atrociously placed. Girlfriend’s Day is a darkly comic mystery with a silly set-up at heart and the usual Odenkirk charm. Don’t expect a masterpiece, either.

6.5/10

The Film Fanatic

 

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