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Film Review – ROLE PLAY (2024): A Strong Start that Falls by the Wayside

Kaley Cuoco Role Play O .

Role Play Film Review

Role Play (2024) Film Review, directed by Thomas Vincent, written by Seth W. Owen, and starring Kaley Cuoco, David Oyelowo, Connie Nielsen, Bill Nighy, and Rudi Dharmalingam.

Role Play (2024) is an action film directed by Thomas Vincent and written by Seth W. Owen. As other reviews have noted, despite the violence and language ratings, the movie is primarily a family one, with the hired assassin mom (Kaley Cuoco) struggling to keep her family safe once her cover is blown. With this double-life-of-a-spy premise that has been done to death, one would have wanted at least unique development of this storyline through a rich and intentional plot. While aesthetic elements and witty exchanges of dialogue had a significant presence in the first quarter of the film, once the main character’s identity compromises her family’s safety, the plot diffuses along with the audience’s investment in the relationship between Emma and Dave (David Oyelowo).

What the film would have most benefited from was more substantial plot design and characterization. The viewer, it would so appear, has to assume that the driving force for the majority of the film is Emma’s desire to lead a “normal” civilian life. Emma’s rationale for being a contract killer is that it’s the only thing she’s known how to do. While her husband’s advice to “take a class” is funny, it highlights the absurdity of Emma’s situation. Much as Dave is left to take it or leave it, the scriptwriter does not appear too interested in retaining the audience’s connection to Emma. Her motives beg the question, indeed, if she only wants to leave her assassin job because her cover was blown. Therefore, it is difficult to really feel invested in the story when the impetus is this weak. Is she only sorry she got caught?

From the acting perspective, the performances were at the level of providing entertainment. For example, there were some standout moments from Kaley Cuoco and Bill Nighy in the first portion of the film. David Oyelowo did a decent job of playing the husband who suddenly needs to be in crisis mode while navigating the shock of his wife’s revelations.  Had there been stronger chemistry between his and Cuoco’s characters, the potential fallout of Emma’s confession would have caused better quality friction and suspense. Their lack of chemistry causes yet another reason for which the audience would not be invested in their outcome, even when Dave’s life is in danger. It must be stated that Dave’s early interactions with whom he thought were law enforcement agents (such as Connie Nielsen’s character, Gwen Carver) created empathy for his character and highlighted his unenviable situation. What happened is that it was a respectable setup for a story which felt wispy and bland.

Earlier I stated my agreement that this film is a family movie, not for its rating but for its primary theme. The notion of keeping the kids safe becomes more of a nuisance and obstacle to the action than perhaps the filmmakers had anticipated. Because Gwen Carver, in order to gain leverage over Emma, took the kids under the guise of being another grandma, Dave is forced to put on a happy face in front of them while secretly nursing a gunshot wound. The guards also play videogames with the children so that they do not meddle with the action. Both instances, among others, inaccurately assume that children are complete idiots that do not question anything. More generally speaking, “What do we do with them?” seems to be a question not only the characters asked themselves, but also one which plagued the director and writer. As the kids’ mismanaged presence in the film only increased throughout its playing, their obstruction only became all the more annoying and cringeworthy. While the foundation of this film was promising, it doesn’t seem like those in charge knew what to do once it was built.

Rating: 6/10

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