There’s something about two sisters who are different as night and day, going on an adventure. Throw in a funny road trip and Will Ferrell in a bowtie, and then you have “Quiz Lady”, Hulu’s new original movie starring Awkwafina and Sandra Oh.
The screener was provided by 20th Century Studios, however all opinions are those of the author.
In the movie “Quiz Lady“, Anne (Awkwafina) lives a lonely existence with her elderly pug and her boring job. Her one true enjoyment in life is watching episodes of Can’t Stop the Quiz, a television game show that is similar to Jeopardy! Can’t Stop the Quiz is Anne’s comfort blanket and whatever else is going on in the world, Anne’s solace is curling up with her pug and watching it.
When Anne discovers that her mother has gone missing and has a huge debt owed to a Chinese Tong (gang) she teams up with her chaotic sister Jenny to get enough cash to pay off the debt. The gang has also stolen Anne’s pug “Mr. Linguini” so needless to say, Anne is pretty upset with her family and life in general.
The two sisters go on a road trip in which Anne tries to prep for the game show while fretting and arguing with her sister. There are several ridiculous scenes but my favorite is easily the introduction of the tong who in addition to being gangsters, rescue animals.
Will Ferrell makes a sweet appearance as the Alex Trebek-inspired gameshow host and Jason Schwartzmann is an annoying contestant that Anne goes up against on the show. I loved Holland Taylor as Anne’s cranky neighbor whom the sisters keep dragging into trouble.
Sandra Oh is perfect as the crazy Jenny, a woman who dreams of being a self-help coach but has no idea how to get her life together. Awkwafina’s comedy is more subdued here, she doesn’t have the gravely loud voice that she typically pulls out for her other films like The Little Mermaid. These roles feel so different than what we’ve seen either actress in before and while it’s clear that each is enjoying these characters that’s not what ultimately goes wrong with this movie.
The “Quiz Lady” script is choppy and feels very unfinished. Anne is never a really fleshed-out character, and we don’t know if her isolation is because of her parents splitting up or the lack of attention from any of her family members. Jenny and Anne’s mother is essentially the person who put this entire situation into motion, be she never actually shows up in the film. It’s an odd omission and I kept expecting her character to breeze in from Macau, but it never happens.
Some of the jokes fall flat but it’s Oh who keeps the train on the track with her comedic timing and the sweetness she brings to the character Jenny. In fact, the film is shot in a bland monotone way when Anne is on the screen but as soon as Sandra Oh bursts into the film, her makeup and purple hair pop right off of the screen.
“Quiz Lady” had the potential to be the Hulu film that really succeeded in being enjoyable fun but unfortunately, the plotholes made this film hard to enjoy.