New York, 1970. Three wives (Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy and Elisabeth Moss) are left behind while their husbands are sent to jail in a botched robbery. With the criminal organisation short-changing them of the money they feel they're owed, they decide to go into business themselves. However, it's not before long that the natural order of things becomes upset, and violent reprisals threaten everything they've built...
Crime movies, especially those set in the '70s in New York, are now so commonplace that there has to be a new spin on it in order to overcome the comparisons and the cliches. 'The Kitchen' tries to play off the painfully obvious by using its three female leads - Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss - as being reason enough to give it a chance. Sadly, however, the writing, the direction and the acting is all so half-cooked (sorry) that it ends up being just another bland dish (really sorry).
Not only that, when you look at something like Steve McQueen's 'Widows', you know that it has very little do with audiences not accepting women in a crime movie. Quite the opposite. Instead, 'The Kitchen' and Andrea Berloff's writing / directing relies on it being some kind of rallying cry for women to join criminal enterprising, rather than it actually being a story that people care about. By the first twenty minutes, you can see exactly where it's headed - and even uses a damn disco montage to get across their rise to success.
Meanwhile, the three leads seem like they're acting in completely separate movies, and the performances from all of them never joins together. Tiffany Haddish plays it like a '70s blaxploitation thriller, by far the most engaged out of the three. Melissa McCarthy, on the other hand, seems content to simply say her lines, affect a vague New York accent, and look worried all the time. Elisabeth Moss, on the other hand, is playing it like she's still in 'The Handmaid's Tale' and is terrified of loud noises and cries on demand.
The supporting cast, including our own Domhnall Gleeson, veteran character actors like Bill Camp, James Badge Dale, Brian d'Arcy James, and even Common aren't enough to make it interesting for anyone. The soundtrack, loaded with '70s yacht rock hits and disco bumps, doesn't do anything to elevate matters and while the cinematography is covered in orange grains and outrageous wigs, 'The Kitchen' suffers by relying on all of these in lieu of something worthwhile.
It's a shame, because 'The Kitchen' smacks of a missed opportunity. Still, there's always 'Widows' to enjoy instead.