Best friend Alice comforts her British stand-up comic pal Henrietta, “Henri,” the heroine of “Daddy Issues,” with one lie. But it’s such whopper that it the whole movie spirals down the drain with it.
“Aww, Henri,” she says, “You’re ALWAYS funny.”
No. She isn’t. Henri, played by Kimberley Datnow, isn’t ever funny on stage. The canned laughter at her appearances implies much more forgiving and drunken viewers than anyone watching “Daddy Issues.”
Henri has one almost-moment, after she’s skipped her Dad’s funeral, after she’s moved to LA to “take over” his design firm there. She treats her first board meeting as a stand-up gig. Holding a pencil like a mike, she works the room. And she hasn’t got one bloody funny thing to say there, either.
This woebegone comedy is about not living up to expectations, refusing to grow up, struggling in LA and “I’m here because I can’t afford therapy right now” stand-up.
Moving back to LA, Henri catches up with her Loyola Marymount classmates, people who have started lives, grown up. Well, most of them.
Nolan (Tanner Rittenhouse) is living in her Dad’s house, works in her Dad’s firm and hasn’t ever gotten around to restoring the deck — which was their deal.
Alice (Alice Carroll Johnson) may work in a well-known talent agency. But what her pals don’t know is that she’s on the bottom rung of the ladder, makes no money and is drowning in student loans. She sneaks around, driving for a rideshare company. And in a bizarre twist, seeing as she’s gay, she surfs a Sugar Daddy app, hunting for someone to pay her bills for “companionship.”
We’re meant to giggle as Henri throws herself at an old flame who turns out to be a self-absorbed anal-retentive jerk. Giving him the name “Hunter” (Francis Lloyd Corby) is a tad “on the nose.”
There are other dates with other guys, a potentially amusing ride-share with a bachelorette party that turns into a “let’s get even with Hunter” vendetta. Meanwhile, she’s bonding with Nolan over the cutest ping pong match ever.
Yes, that’s me throwing a feeble comedy with a duller-than-dull script, colorless characters and a posh-accented “star” who seems like a born bit player, nothing more.
The titular “bit” almost works, and as that’s in the film’s first five minutes, it fills one with false hope. Henri jokes that she’s developing an app called “Daddy Issues. It’s a destructive way to search for love you never got as a child.”
Everything that follows? It’s worse.
MPAA Rating: unrated, adult situations, some profanity
Cast: Kimberley Datnow , Alice Carroll Johnson, Tanner Rittenhouse, Francis Lloyd Corby
Credits: Directed by Laura Holliday, script by John Cox and Laura Holliday, A Gravitas Ventures release.
Running time: 1:20