Lifelong friends and comic colleagues Whitney Call and Mallory Everton pair up again for “Stop and Go,” the most infectiously funny COVID road comedy ever.
They co-wrote and co-star in a manic but never frantic tale of sisters dashing from New Mexico to Washington state to rescue their Nana (Anne Sward Hansen) from her nursing home, which is having a Corona virus outbreak.
Along the way, they have to contend with cellular miscommunications between Blake (Everton) and this guy she had one date with before the pandemic lockdown began.
“I seriously met him at the WORST moment in history! ‘Best Tinder date of your life? NOVEL Corona Virus!”
Jamie is fending off calls from an obsessive, Ritalin-juiced nine year-old whose obsession isn’t with the classroom mice Jamie (a fourth grade teacher) left in his and his mother’s care. Little Jacob is mad into “Miss Jamie!”
“He’s ALWAYS calling, asking how the mice are doing, asking how I’M doing!”
“How’d he get your number?”
“From a bathroom stall!”
That’s worth a mid-roadtrip high five between the sisters. Thanks to the chattering, sparkling rapport between these two, we’d expect no less.
They swap “deal breaker” jokes about Scott, the guy Blake is infatuated with, have sing-alongs to the radio, freak-outs at infected-looking gas pumps and Facetime with Nana, watching her push furniture against her door, barricading it from the amorous infected senior who might be her regular “booty call.”
The film gives us a brief peek at their pre-pandemic lives together, Jamie’s 30th birthday party where she prophesies “I’ve just got a good feeling about everything.” “Stop and Go” progresses into their lockdown protocols and hits the road when they realize their “This pandemic is no big deal” older sister (Julia Jolley) is not just irresponsible and on a cruise with her husband — “The tickets were SO cheap!” — and thus not in the same town as Nana’s nursing home. Idiot Erin is the LAST person Nana wants to be with and entirely too careless to keep their grandmother safe.
Even though they drive off with the motto “Never interact with strangers,” they do — with an irate biker, with the squirrely boondocks oddball (co-director Stephen Meek) their ditz of a sister got to dog sit Nana’s Bernese Mountain Dog. Both of those go as badly as you’d imagine.
“That can’t be creepy, right?”
“Right. Cuz creepy guys never wear masks.”
“Stop and Go” gives the impression that the script is just here to provide a point-A to point Z itinerary, and mainly for the benefit of everybody else. Call and Everton? Those broads are riffing like it’s not their first improv (they were on the sketch comedy series “Freelancers” and “Studio C” together).
After watching the siblings’ free form dance to “let off steam” on the Bonneville salt flats, hearing them banter away at a speed that only a long relationship can produce and then harmonize as they sing in their RAV4, you might wonder how these two manage it.
Stick around through the closing credits. There’s little Mallory and tween Whitney, carrying on in home movies, improvising comedy and giggling their heads off as they do.
That’s right. If you REALLY want your COVID road trip comedy to sing, you have to pair up your co-stars in childhood, start’em early. Apparently.
Because that’s what works here, there and everywhere these two “Stop and Go.”
Rating: unrated, adult subject matter
Cast: Whitney Call, Mallory Everton, Julia Jolley and Anne Sward Hansen.
Credits: Directed by Mallory Everton and Stephen Meek, scripted by Whitney Call and Mallory Everton. A Decal release.
Running time: 1:21