THE WRONG MISSY: Lauren Lapkus is Absolutely the Right Missy

Netflix, in association with Happy Madison Productions has recently released THE WRONG MISSY (2020), directed by Tyler Spindel (FATHER OF THE YEAR (2018)), and written and produced by returning team, Chris Pappas and Kevin Barnett (THE DO- OVER (2016)). The raunchy comedy sees David Spade collaborating once again with the Writer- Producer team, after also starring in THE DO- OVER (2016).

Spade surprises viewers by playing Tim Morris, an ambitious, reserved, and well- mannered executive at a bank, which is almost the exact antithesis of most of his previous acting roles.  After a blind date gone wrong with eccentric Melissa or ‘Missy’ (Lauren Lapkus), and an accidental meet- cute gone right with a supermodel of the same name, Tim accidentally invites “the wrong Missy” to a corporate retreat in Hawaii. 

Lauren Lapkus steals the spotlight in this over the top role, giving audiences a taste of her abilities as a physical comedian.  She is well- known for her roles in JURASSIC WORLD (2015) as Vivian, CRASHING (2017) as Jess,and ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK (2013) as Susan Fischer, among many others.  Despite the more serious tone of some of these roles, she is also well- known for her comedic timing and wit, while also hosting her own Star Wars fandom podcast with fellow hyper- fun comedian Nicole Byers.  Lapkus asks viewers to open their perceptions of her to another height of comedy, and it’s not much of a request given her talented performance.

The film also sees the return of other Happy Madison veterans, Rob Schneider and Nick Swardson.  Schneider plays his usual quirky oddball in the form of a tour guide for shark sighting.  It is essentially the same role that intersects in almost every Sandler comedy he does, socially unaware and appearing for only a scene.  While Swardson also plays an oddball, a co- worker of Morris’ who is exceptionally boisterous and drunken for the majority of the retreat.

This feature is much of what audiences would expect from a Happy Madison Production.  At times the exaggerated comedy is entertaining and does elicit some genuine laughs at the outrageous and unrealistic situations.  At other points, however, it begins to feel outdated and would have been more funny if it had been released during the heydays of the AMERICAN PIE or VAN WILDER franchises.  A prime example of this is during instances when Missy performs sex acts on an unconscious Morris without his consent.  While the film treats these scenes with obvious and campy grasps at laughs, it’s just not funny anymore, especially when abuse against men often gets put down as a joke.  It does nothing to further the plot, making the attempt unnecessary and uncomfortable.

While the concept of the film is entertaining enough, the script could have undergone another draft.  THE WRONG MISSY is a character- driven comedy, and it is mainly Lapkus’ performance that keeps it going.  While it’s probably not going to be the best comedy ever made, it is enjoyable enough if only to see David Spade finally become the quiet embarrassed character overshadowed by the multi- faceted and quirky free- spirit. 

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