February 19, 2024

GENRE | 'Drive-Away Dolls' Takes A Lesbian Crime Caper Detour

"Tomorrow can wait a day."
Margaret Qualley Geraldine Viswanathan Beanie Feldstein Ethan Coen Tricia Cooke | Drive-Away Dolls
Focus Features / Working Title Films
One-half of the Coen brothers, Ethan Coen, co-writes and co-directs a queer joyride crime caper alongside his lesbian film editor wife/collaborator Tricia Cooke, in the breakneck but shaggy road trip comedy, Drive-Away Dolls (originally titled Drive-Away Dykes). Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan star as mismatched best friends driving from Philadelphia to Tallahassee in 1999 who get entangled in a convoluted political extortion conspiracy.

Ethan seems unleashed as his first full-fledged narrative directing gig sans brother Joel, who himself went in the polar opposite direction for his bleak, Ethan-less adaptation of Macbeth in black-and-white, exuding a high camp factor of absurdist to its outrageously gay throwback of a film featuring a totally free-spirited horndog Texan (Qualley) and her sexually repressed sidekick (Viswanathan).

Famous folks like Beanie Feldstein, Colman Domingo, Pedro Pascal, and Matt Damon all show up in small roles (easily filmed in single locations) to move the silly and thinly drawn criminal elements of the underbaked premise together to get our young female leads stumbling into some zany late-'90s east coast shenanigans. It's easily one of the horniest, female pleasure-centric mainstream films starring familiar faces to arrive in theatres in a long time.

Drive-Away Dolls' audacious screwball nature never totally jives with the A-list cast and contrasting styles of performances. Qualley and Viswanathan are lively, but their slapdash together, somewhat reluctant friendship turned cheesy romance feels insubstantial with so much wild setup needed to get them on the road, into trouble, and onto plenty of steamy same-sex detours. It's an enjoyable romp but fades away as soon as the trashy fun is over.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Inverse / GQ

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