Anna Kendrick is Martha, a twenty-something who dumps her boyfriend when he cheats on her. The morning after a wild bender—”I want to do something terrible,” she says.—she it’s love-at-first-sight with a stranger (Sam Rockwell) she meets at a supermarket. He’s a babyface assassin who cold bloodedly murders for money. “Killing is wrong,” he says, “but I’m not perfect.” Part Bruce Lee, part James Bond, he’s as lethal as he is charming. Ignoring the obvious warning signs—he won’t tell her his name and jokes about killing people—she falls for him and is only slightly conflicted on their third day together when she sees him shoot a man. “Are you upset that I killed that guy?” he says. “How I feel about that guy has nothing to do with how I feel about you.” They flirt, banter back and forth and after some metaphysical weapons training are a committed couple. “When I was little I had a dream I was dating Lex Luther,” she coos. Now if only the squads of hitmen sent to kill him would lay off, the couple could decide whether she is his weakness or the Bonnie to his Clyde or both.
Other movies have trod this path. “Something Wild,” “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “True Romance” all mix affection with offing, and all do it better than “Mr. Right.” What this movie has going for it is a handful of clever lines—for instance, Rockwell’s dusty charm is described as “fancy homeless”—and two people who know how to deliver them, Kendrick and Rockwell. Despite a seventeen-year age gap, or maybe because of it, they click.
The first half of the movie, before it turns into a shoot ‘em up, has many funny, charming moments. The preposterousness of the story aside, there are enough effervescent screwball moments in Max Landis’s screenplay to carry the day. But just about the time bad guy Johnny Moon (Michael Eklund) says, “Don’t let this become unfun… This is supposed to be fun,” it’s hard not to disagree with him. What was once a light and fluffy—if a little bloody—confection loses its way in a hail of bullets and beatings.
“Mr. Right” doesn’t get everything right, but in between the quirky trying-too-hard moments are some amiably charming moments.