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Review: Desperados (2020)

I really wasn’t expecting the dolphin penis…

When I saw that Nasim Pedrad and Lamorne Morris were set to star in a Netflix romantic-comedy, I was pretty freaking excited. These two were such a phenomenal comedic pairing on New Girl (2011 – 2018) so I was hopeful that they’d be able to bring the same chemistry to Desperados (2020) and finally break the curse of atrocious Netflix original movies. Unfortunately, not even the power of Pedrad and Morris’ remarkable chemistry was enough to save this dumpster-fire of a movie. How one movie can be so overwhelmingly bad that it can turn two hilarious actors borderline unwatchable, is baffling to me. I can only assume Netflix made some sort of demonic deal where all of their TV series earn critical acclaim but in exchange, a high percentage of their movies…well, turn out like this.

Screen Shot 2020-07-06 at 9.13.09 PM
Credit: / Netflix

Desperados follows Wesley, a down on her luck guidance counsellor who can’t hold onto a job or a boyfriend. When she meets Jared, the perfect boyfriend, everything seems to be falling in place for her. But when Wesley ends up drunkenly sending Jared an embarrassing email, she must travel to Mexico with her friends to delete it off Jared’s devices before he reads it.

As with most Netflix originals, I only got 15 minutes into Desperados before I declared it officially, “dull as fuck.” Sigh…I’m really growing tired of reviewing Netflix originals because I often write the same thing: they feel like cheap, direct-to-DVD, or Lifetime movies, they’re at least 20 minutes too long, the script sounds stale and dated, and they’re utterly forgettable. Seriously, this movie is so needlessly convoluted and wildly uninteresting, that I legitimately forgot the plot multiple times. Netflix is on the thinnest ice possible with me. It’s gotten to the point now where I audibly groan when I see the Netflix logo at the bottom of a movie poster. Ugh, where do I even begin with Desperados? First of all, the movie was originally put into production in 2009 and then seemingly forgotten about for 10 years. That should have been the first red flag to abandon this movie! Honestly, I’m convinced that this movie exists solely so the cast and crew could go to Mexico for a few weeks.

Screen Shot 2020-07-10 at 3.08.21 PM
Credit: / Netflix

Can we talk about this paper-thin plot for a second? Needing to delete an incriminating email off a boyfriend’s phone sounds like the plot of season 1, episode 12 of a really shitty sitcom from the 2000s. Desperados is clearly aware of how lacking the plot is. How else do you explain this movie being dragged out for an hour and 45 minutes? Going after all of Jared’s devices sends Wesley on a wild goose chase that A) could not be less interesting to watch, and B) the movie forgets about for like the last 40 minutes! I swear, for the last half hour of the movie, nothing mattered anymore. Heather Graham enters as a brand new character, Wesley’s friends, Brooke and Kaylie, go off to see a sex shaman, and deleting the email seems to be an afterthought to everyone in front of the camera, and behind it. This movie was poorly paced and planned out.

The biggest problem story-wise with Desperados though, is that there’s simply nothing at stake. Like, so Jared reads her email…either he forgives her (Jared is presented as an understanding kind of guy) or he breaks up with her and she finds a new boyfriend. Which clearly isn’t a challenge because although the movie heavily exposits that she can’t find a man, (but doesn’t give any solid reason why she’s unlovable or can’t hold down a job) she LITERALLY ran into Jared on the street after leaving a date! It’s not like Wesley and Jared were engaged and she had to retrieve an email saying she hated her future mother-in-law or something. They’ve only been dating a month! There’s nothing at stake! Because there’s no reason to care about how the movie turns out, my attention evaporated pretty early on. You know what’s worse though? I think the cast could tell how low the stakes were as well because all through the movie, every character seemed like they didn’t give a fuck about what happened next.

You guys, the entire cast of Desperados feels checked out from start to finish. The cast acts as if they know the basic outline of the movie, and every actor is then just improv-ing their way through each scene, desperate to forward the movie to its conclusion any way possible. Anna Camp and Sarah Burns, as Brooke and Kaylie respectively, do their best to bring some comedic relief, but it repeatedly falls flat. Thankfully, Robbie Amell possesses just enough much charisma as Jared to pick up their slack. Is he particularly funny? No. But he’s just dreamy and endearing enough to make up for the lack of entertaining characters in this horrible movie.

Pedrad and Morris, as Wesley and Sean respectively, are hands down the most disappointing parts of Desperados. Only because I know how talented they are, and so to see them so let down by this movie is a colossal disappointment. Neither is given any truly funny material to work with, and their characters (much like every other character) are severely underwritten. Especially Wesley. We never get a sense of why she’s unable to get her life together, she’s unrelatable, and she’s not even hilariously over the top. I imagine the script’s character description for Wesley reads something like this: “woman who is desperate for a boyfriend treats everyone around her poorly, and doesn’t take responsibility for her life.” Truly, I didn’t care what happened to Wesley. I hate when movies don’t make me care about the protagonist! Knowing how gifted Pedrad is at crafting memorable characters, her abysmal performance in Desperados is a huge let down for me.

Desperados feels like an Adam Sandler movie. One of his worst ones like, Jack and Jill (2011) or Grown Ups 2 (2013). I’m all for a raunchy comedy filled with R-rated material, but Desperados crosses the comedy line and ends up delivering scene after scene of gross-out “humour” that leaves you speechless and cringing: Wesley throws up all over the hotel, is repeatedly mistaken for a pedophile, and has a dolphin hump her face, and then gets slapped by the dolphin’s penis. I swear to God, that ACTUALLY happens. What’s worse is that the movie has the audacity to tack on a, “friends are everything!” message at the end that is completely unearned. Wesley couldn’t care less about her friends the entire movie! Desperados thinks it has the heart, charm, and comedy of Bridesmaids (2011), when really it has all the eye-rolling disinterest of Just Go With It (2011). Yikes, another Sandler reference. 2011 wasn’t his year, was it?

Screen Shot 2020-07-06 at 9.15.11 PM
Credit: / Netflix

I would not recommend Desperados at all. It’s terrible and not at all worth the time. Maybeeeee you could endure it if you watched it with your friends, a lot of wine, and talked the whole way through. Although, if you were to do that, I can guarantee you’d start having conversations about your own relationships, and it would be 10 times more interesting than anything that’s happening onscreen. Sigh…do I have the strength in me to review another Netflix movie? Here’s hoping Charlize Theron will be the one to break the curse!

Have you seen Desperados? What did you think?

Let me know in the comments or on social media!

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