1 1/2 Stars
The Kitchen is a movie that desperately wants to be taken seriously and it’s almost impossible to do so. There is a lot of star power amongst the cast but little chemistry or sparks. Oscar-nominated screenwriter Andrea Berloff is an obviously skilled creator but this project never finds its way and flattens when it should sizzle. Apparently, the source material has been taken from a property owned by DC comics but there is nothing on-screen that would suggest it’s based on anything other than four decades of better gangster movies.
When their husbands are caught up in a sting orchestrated by the FBI, mob wives Kathy (Melissa McCarthy), Ruby (Tiffany Haddish) and Claire (Elisabeth Moss) realize they can’t survive on the little income and allowance they are receiving from the Irish mafia. So, the ladies set out to take over collection on 20 blocks of Hell’s Kitchen. Their new approach to protection and business makes the wives successful but also a target for competitors and traders withing their group.
A soundtrack stocked with the 70s’ era classics does a lot to invoke a vibe that is often missing from the material alone. McCarthy, Haddish, and Moss are solid actresses and in a better movie it’s conceivable that all three could be competitors in an academy season in which they could all be nominated. I can think of two standout scenes contained with The Kitchen that hint at the movie that could have been. Instead, the final product is a disappointing retread of tired genre troops, full of plot holes, and illogical behavior.
Director: Andrea Berloff
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss