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New Release Review - ADDICTED TO FRESNO

A sex addict attempts to cover up an accidental killing.


Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

Directed by: Jamie Babbit

Starring: Judy Greer, Natasha Lyonne, Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen, Ron Livingston




"The initially intriguing setup gives way to a crude 'bad behaviour' comedy, trading on the gimmick that we don't see women indulge in such filthy antics too often in American cinema. Greer will have to wait a little longer for that breakout role."





You may not be familiar with her name, but if you've paid a visit to your local cinema over the summer, chances are you've seen Judy Greer. In recent months, her talent has been wasted in such insubstantial roles as the blink and you'll miss her teacher in Tomorrowland, the worried mom in Jurassic World, and the er...worried mom in Ant-Man. Now her talent is wasted in a substantial role in the misfiring, foul-mouthed sex comedy Addicted to Fresno.
Greer plays Shannon, a sex addict who lost her teaching job due to a predilection for sleeping with her colleagues. The film claims Shannon has been added to the registered sex offenders' list for her indiscretions, which I found pretty odd. Is it considered a sex crime in California for a teacher to sleep with her fellow workers? And what of the men she slept with? Are they too lumped in with rapists and child molesters??? Perhaps someone more familiar with the US legal system can enlighten me.
Anyhow, Shannon has now been taken under the wing of her kid sister, Martha (Natasha Lyonne), and the two work side by side as cleaners in a cheap hotel. When Shannon gives in to temptation and gets busy with a sleazy guest, she accidentally kills the man, telling her sister he attempted to rape her. The two attempt to cover up the crime and dispose of the body, but of course, nothing goes that easy.
Not a lot of thought has gone into Addicted to Fresno. There's no real justification for adding the location to the title. The Californian city plays no real part in the narrative beyond a few characters moaning about their dislike of the place (I'll gladly swap rainy Dublin for sunny Fresno if anyone's interested). Fresno just has a certain ring to it; hell it even sounds a bit like Fargo, and that worked out pretty well for the Coens.
The plot structure is similarly ill conceived. The first act lulls us into a false sense of security, with a milieu not unlike the superior Sunshine Cleaning, in which Amy Adams and Emily Blunt essayed a similar sister dynamic. Soon, the initially intriguing setup gives way to a crude 'bad behaviour' comedy, trading on the gimmick that we don't see women indulge in such filthy antics too often in American cinema. We get yet another shift in tone for the final act, in which Shannon realises the error of her ways and the film becomes a dreary dud.
It's not just Greer who is wasted here; Lyonne gets little to do as her long-suffering sister, despite sharing plenty of screen time, and Aubrey Plaza and Ron Livingston are introduced as characters that seem to be integral to the plot, only for the movie to seemingly forget they were ever involved. I guess Greer will have to wait a little longer for that breakout role.



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