Arizona: The Housing Recession Gets Bloody

[L-R] Rosemarie DeWitt as Cassie and Lolli Sorenson as Morgan in the action comedy ARIZONA, an RLJE Films release. Photo courtesy of Cathy Kanavy.

The wildly outrageous Arizona is the result of what happens when a disgruntled client takes matters into his own hands during the housing crisis.

Real estate agent Cassie (Rosemarie DeWitt) is working to make ends meet while raising her daughter, Morgan (Lolli Sorenson).  It’s among the worst times in modern history to be a real estate agent but somebody has to do the job.  She shares custody with her ex-husband, Scott (Luke Wilson).  He’s since gotten together with Kelsey (Elizabeth Gillies) even though he’s old enough to be her dad.

Despite some issues with Scott over their daughter, Cassie’s life is otherwise going well.  As well as it could for having a sexist boss, Gary (Seth Rogen, uncredited).  Gary jokes about wishing he had boobs.  I hate to get personal but as a transgender woman, this is one of the laziest jokes in the book.  Honestly, I was cringing at this line.  It’s absolutely trope-ish.  In any event, Rogen’s uncredited appearance is a mere cameo at best.  This is until Sonny (Danny McBride) walks in the doors of the realty office.  He’s upset that he’s been forced to take out a mortgage on his house.  This didn’t sit well with his now ex-wife, Vickie (Kaitlin Olson).  Sonny isn’t happy and he sure lets Gary know it in the most bloody way possible.

Sonny isn’t the best planner when it comes to killing let alone kidnapping.  The full consequences of his actions take a bit too long to sit in.  At which point, he’s already kidnapped Cassie.  It only gets worse from there.  It doesn’t matter who it is because if their heart is beating, they’re as good as dead.

Even if Cassie would have been able to call the cops early enough, the fictional town of Harding only has one sheriff (David Alan Grier) on hand.  There was a booming housing market and even Cassie couldn’t believe the odds of learning there’s just one police officer!

This is the first feature film for director Jonathan Watson.  A longtime assistant director, it helps that Watson has some familiarity with McBride by having worked on his sitcom.  It’s the typical performance from McBride in the film.  It just feels like we could have gotten a bit more out of the actor.  There’s a lot of zaniness taking place so McBride could have surely upped it up a notch.

There’s some solid performances from Rosemarie DeWitt and Lolli Sorenson.  Sorenson shows some potential in her first big screen appearance.  As for the rest of the cast, they feel underutilized to say the least.

Some bad jokes aside, there’s a lot of potential for something fun in Luke Del Tredici’s script for Arizona.  That it offers a very bloody take on the aftereffects of the housing crisis is ripe for satire in its own right.  The script hooks us early on but there’s some characters that could have been better explored rather than remain under-developed.

Arizona had so much potential to be a wacky dark comedy to end the summer with but the film falls just a bit short of a complete recommendation.

DIRECTOR:  Jonathan Watson
SCREENWRITER:  Luke Del Tredici
CAST:  Danny McBride, Rosemarie DeWitt, Luke Wilson, Lolli Sorenson, Elizabeth Gillies, Kaitlin Olson, and David Alan Grier

RLJE Films will open Arizona in select theaters and Digital/VOD platforms on August 24, 2018.  The film premiered during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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