Wes Anderson’s Resident Evil 7
Rhymes with Banana (2012): 5 out of 10: is an indie comedy-drama film directed by Joseph Muszynski and Peter Hutchings, starring Zosia Mamet, Jee Young Han, and Paul Iacono. The film follows the lives of two aspiring actresses, Z (Zosia Mamet) and J (Jee Young Han), who struggle to make their mark in the competitive world of New York City’s entertainment industry.
Z and J are best friends and roommates, supporting each other through countless auditions and rejections while navigating the often-humiliating realities of the acting world. With their careers going nowhere, the duo takes matters into their own hands and creates their own opportunities, hoping to find success on their own terms.
Their plan takes an unexpected turn when they kidnap thier new cute neighbor played by Paul Iacono, whom they believe to be a talent agent, and hold him hostage in their apartment. Through comedic and heartfelt moments, they learn the importance of friendship and the joys of committing kidnapping, forced slavery, and sexual assault as a team.
The Good: Once you make it through the first twenty minutes (See Ugly below) Rhymes with Banana goes to a good place. This is a tight script that is willing to go dark in a candy coated way.
The acting is solid across the board with a particularly good cameo by Jaleel White playing himself. The limited set and location shooting is well used. Our two main leads rap a couple of times during the film and I confess it was quite catchy.
The Bad: The real bad is not what is but what could have been. Rhymes with Banana has the right idea. What if the standard trope of quirky, talentless best friends trying to make it as actresses in New York morphs into them creating their own reality and become psychopathic kidnappers? Think the girls from Tragedy Girls but an unattractive geeky version.
The surprise towards the end of the movie reveal fills a plot hole and adds a delicious layer to thier depravity. And then Rhymes with Bananas simply chickens out. There are no consequences for anyone involved. We all grew and learned and the reward was the friends we made along the way. It is a fairy tale ending. And that would not be a bad thing if it was one of those fairy tales where a woman cuts off her toes to fit into the slipper. But alas, it is not.
I have often cautioned movies on this very site to not feature clearly better films during their own film. Previous entries have included Halloween Ends featuring John Carpenter’s The Thing and The Matrix featuring Night of the Lepus. We may need to include Rhymes with Banana in the pantheon. While I have not seen Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus, the poster is featured in the girl’s bathroom and clips of the movie are liberally sprinkled throughout the film. I have to confess for a time there I was thinking of turning Rhymes with Bananas off and doing a Roku search.
The Ugly: Until Rhymes with Banana shows its true colors, it is a horrifying slog. The first twenty minutes really leave the impression of a Wes Anderson parody film that forgot it was supposed to be a parody and just turns the Wes Andersoness up to eleven. The set of the girl’s apartment looks like there was an explosion at the Lisa Frank factory. There is a ton of quirky narration and, of course, they are the cool ones rather than the talentless and less attractive ones. (For all that is holy, they use a vintage camera.) It is so over the top that it isn’t apparent if they were going for self aware parody or were just that clueless.
In Conclusion: Rhymes with Banana is a flawed quirky little film that shows off its cast’s talents. Once the story gets going, Rhymes with Banana flirts with greatness until it stumbles and plays it safe. It could have been a contender. As it is, Rhymes with Banana is a pleasant if uneven film with its occasional laughs and other pleasures.