Desperados – review

Brief synopsis: a thirty-something woman, desperate to get back into dating, goes out on a date and it is a bust. On her way home, she bumps into a man and they start a relationship. When he does not contact her after nearly a week, egged on by her drunken friends, she sends him an abusive email.

He contacts her just as her friends are sending the email and tells her he was in an accident and in hospital in Mexico, which is why he had not spoken to her. Realising she has made a horrible mistake, she decides that she needs to go to Mexico and intercept the email.

Is it any good?: Desperados is okay. It is not great but it is not terrible either. The premise is not original, having been used in other comedies to better effect, and the execution is patchy. The script is funny in parts and touching in parts. Unfortunately, the overall is not as good as it could have been and there are more misses than hits.

Spoiler territory: Wesley (Nasim Pedrad), is an out of work, thirty-something guidance councillor. She interviews for a job at a Catholic school but does not get the job due to her forthright views on sex, something she voices during the interview. She told as much by her close friends, Kaylie (Sarah Burns) and Brooke (Anna Camp). Wesley laments about not having achieved what she thought she would have by her thirties.

With bills piling up and her dating life in tatters, she receives a voicemail message from her ex-boyfriend. He boasts about his upcoming marriage and warns her that he has a photo spread with his fiancé in a popular magazine. Wesley heads to a bookshop to check out the spread.

Whilst in the store, she gets a message from a friend. He sends her the details of a man, Sean (Lamorne Morris), who he thinks she would gel with. Wesley gives him a call. Sean agrees to meet up with her. On the phone, the two have a quick conversation and agree that if either one of them thinks the date is not working they can just cancel it on the spot.

Wesley goes to meet Sean and is babbling excitedly as she sits opposite him. Sean ends the date, telling her it is not working. An offended Wesley, vents at Sean and leaves the bar. As she walks away from the bar she trips and falls, knocking herself momentarily unconscious.

She comes to and meets a handsome man Jared (Robbie Amell) who tells her that he has retrieved her purse. He lives close to the bar and tells her she can come and wait at his home for her friends. Still dazed from her fall, Wesley is less forthright than usual.

Meeting up with her friends the next day, she explains that not being her normal self was her way to get a man. Against her friends better judgement, Wesley begins to see Jared whilst suppressing the more outlandish traits of herself. After seeing one another for a month, they succumb to carnal desires.

Jared disappears. Kaylie and Brooke come over to Wesley’s home and find her drunk and miserable, believing she has been ghosted by Jared. The women all drink together and Wesley decides she needs to vent, in an email, to Jared. Her friends, whose moods empathically mirror hers, encourage to write the email.

Wesley writes a highly abusive email. As she is about to send it, she gets a phone call. She leaves the email for her friends to send. The call is from Jared. He is in a Mexican hospital because he got into an accident. He is calling to apologise for not speaking to her. A panicked Wesley tries to prevent her friends from sending the email but is too late.

Wesley tells them that they can go and intercept the email and delete it because Jared’s laptop and mobile phone are in the hotel he was going to be staying in. Kaylie immediately agrees to go with her. Brooke is a little reluctant but is soon persuaded to go to Mexico. The three friends head to Mexico.

At the resort, Wesley bumps into Sean, who is at the same resort. She gives him short shrift, remembering their last encounter. Wesley desperately wants to get into Jared’s room but the resort will not give out his details. After an abortive mission to get into his room, that ends up with her flashing a twelve-year-old boy, Wesley ropes her friends into helping her steal a resort pass.

The plan ends up with Wesley forced to go on a paddleboard lesson with Sean. The two end up hitting it off enough to be friendly. Whilst she is with Sean, her friends steal the resort master key. After another incident with the twelve-year-old, the women are kicked out of the resort.

After decamping to a less ritzy resort, Wesley tries to persuade her friends to return to the previous resort to get to Jared’s laptop and phone. They refuse to go with her, so Wesley goes alone. At the resort, she gets a call from Jared. He tells her he is leaving the hospital the next day and wants her to pick him up at Los Angeles airport. Wesley gets arrested and thrown in a cell in Mexico.

Her friends and Sean, come to bail her out. They try to tell her that her behaviour is getting out of hand but Wesley is still determined to get to the email before Jared does. Kaylie and Brooke lose patience and leave Wesley with Sean.

Kaylie and Brooke decide to go and see Kaylie’s spiritual guru at a retreat, Ángel (Heather Graham). Kaylie is hoping that she can be healed and become pregnant, even though multiple specialists have told she cannot have children. Brooke is sceptical.

Wesley and Sean hang out as he is roped into her harebrained pursuit of the email. Sean wants to know what she sees in Jared. He remarks that Jared’s romantic approach is not the most original. Wesley finds out that Sean was married but his wife died. Jared calls again and tells Wesley he is getting out of the hospital.

She tells him she is in Mexico and will meet him at the airport. Quite by chance, Wesley and Sean find themselves outside of the hospital Jared is leaving as he is calling her. They decide to follow him, still wanting to get to the email.

Kaylie and Brooke meet Ángel. Ángel tells Kaylie she cannot help her and points her in the direction of adopting. She takes the still sceptical Brooke for a private meeting. Wesley and Sean have an accident as they pursue Jared’s luggage. They are forced to continue their journey on foot. Ángel and Brooke have a spiritual and carnal experience together.

Wesley and Sean continue to bond and come across the van they had been following, seeing the driver getting out to go and play at a quinceañera. They end up going to the party as well. A distraught Kaylie vents at other attendees of the spiritual retreat. Wesley and Sean continue to bond at the quinceañera. Kaylie and Brooke head to the airport. Wesley shows Sean the email as they also head to the airport. He tells her she should let Jared read the email.

Wesley catches up with Jared at the airport. She sees Kaylie and Brooke but treats them as though they are only acquaintances. She gets on the plane with Jared. She belatedly decides to show him the email. Jared reads the email and immediately rejects her.

At the airport, Wesley argues with Kaylie and Brooke when they point out her selfishness. They leave her to her myopic view. The next day, Wesley gets a job interview, thanks to a recommendation from Sean, gaining employment in a school. She settles into the position well and her life begins to get better.

She reaches out to Kaylie and Brooke to repair their friendship. Wesley finds out, through social media, where Sean is and goes and meets him at a bar. He is waiting for a blind date. His blind date arrives and an awkward conversation ensues. His blind date steps away, allowing Wesley and Sean to speak privately. She tells him she likes him.

Sean tells her that he does not know if he can be the sort of partner that he feels she deserves. Wesley leaves him to his blind date. Sean goes after Wesley and tells her he wants to date her. They kiss. The end.

Final thoughts: Desperados is a hit and miss comedy carried by the pleasant, doe-eyed Nasim Pedrad. Pedrad’s Wesley’s chemistry with Lamorne Morris’ Sean – something that has probably carried over from their time on New Girl together – is great and definitely enhances the film. Directed by LP – a curious moniker if there ever was one – and written by Ellen Rapoport, Desperados is an inoffensive rom-com that goes exactly where you think it is going to go.

A gently amusing film, punctuated with some genuinely mirth-some moments, Desperados is only let down by the fact that some of the elements in the film are a little forced – the twelve-year-old horny kid, the opening interview – and the secondary stories of Camp’s Brooke and Burns’ Kaylie are somewhat underwritten.

Heather Graham as Ángel, who has always had good comedic timing, is wasted in this film not adding to the plot at all. At 105 minutes long, Desperados is a little on the long side for a rom-com but not noticeably so. Though not the greatest comedy, Desperados is an easy watch in these trying times.

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