Also, this movie is neither a comedy nor a musical
I had the past Saturday afternoon all to myself. This is a rarity, so I decided to snuggle up in bed with an iced coffee by my side and a Saturday afternoon movie in front of me. The trailer for I Care a Lot had been lingering in the back of my mind; I’m obsessed with scammers and grifters. Plus I heard that Rosamund Pike earned a Golden Globe for her starring role in this “musical or comedy” movie. Based upon this data, I made the scientific choice to watch this film.
What follows is a rant fueled by my anger that I wasted my precious alone- time hours subjecting myself to this movie. Obviously spoilers lie ahead, so turn back now if you don’t want this “musical or comedy” film spoiled for you. Disclaimer: I can’t remember any of the character’s names, so I’m just referring to them by their real life names.
Credit Where It’s Due: What Went Well
- The marketing: The giant block text. The contrasting primary and cool tones. The pics of Rosamund’s fiery red Golden Globes dress. The trailer that contained a voiceover. The promise of the story of a scam. All of these clever aspects created the facade that this movie would be an epic retelling of a lady scammer.
- Pike’s blunt haircut. It was sleek. Austere. Intimidatingly straight. Made me feel inferior for not being able to wield a hair straightener in the same way that this boss bitch can.
- She vapes with reckless abandon, much like eighth graders at a suburban public school.
4. Rosamund Pike is a true villain. We never get her backstory, which is awesome because we don’t need it! She’s just a woman who wants to make money at the expense of stealing elderly people’s nest eggs and we also know that when her own mom’s life is threatened, she doesn’t give a shit. And the film doesn’t make audiences relive a traumatic childhood that provides a reason for why she mistreats the elderly or hates her mom. All we know is that Rosamund Pike has figured out that in order to get ahead, you have to be a “lioness” and trample people. #AmericanDream.
The Main Problems
So the first 25 minutes, I’m into this plot. We’ve got a terrible person who is manipulating BOTH the legal and medical system for her own gain. She finds a judge with no brains who lets her take over old people’s lives with very few questions asked, and a greedy doctor who is happy to exaggerate notes in her patient’s charts to make it sound like they can’t run their own lives anymore. One man in a red hat (possibly a tr*mper?) vows to get back at her and Rosamund brazenly states that he can’t take her down. This is a scam for the ages.
30 minutes into it, we find out that Rosamund Pike’s “cherry” client, (some unexplained fruit-related business term) Jennifer Peterson, is actually not a childless, friendless, sibling-less, parent-less person. Wow, what a surprise that this successful woman isn’t floating around the world completely untethered. And SPOILER ALERT: Her son is Peter Dinklage, the head of a Russian mob syndicate situated in the Cleveland Metro area. Cleveland. I literally yelled “you have GOT to be fucking kidding me” when this plot detail was revealed. Here I am, enjoying my Saturday, watching this scam unfold, and then all of a sudden I’m watching a mob movie that takes place in a flyover state.
For the next 90 MINUTES, Rosamund and Peter try to kill each other and fail. One of his cronies fills up Rosamund’s veins with some sort of dangerous drug, throws her into a car, and hits the gas and somehow she wakes up at the last second and the only injury she experiences is a lost tooth?? (Also, none of the goons show up to make sure she drowned.) Then Rosamund races home to check on her girlfriend, Eiza Gonzalez, who has been exposed to a propane leak after being beaten up by other cronies (who also didn’t finish their job). Rosamund simply turns off the gas, drags her to the living room, and Eiza magically morphs into a Christ figure, rising from the dead. These unrealistic antics continue throughout the rest of the film (including a runner finding Peter naked in the woods — alive) because these people can’t seem to figure out how to kill each other.
Peter is a terrible gangster. Peter’s right-hand man is named Aleksy, who never considered to pick a more American name to try assimilate and remain inconspicuous to Cleveland cops. He also never considers tracking down and bribing/threatening/convincing the judge who allows Rosamund and the doctor to steal the possessions of every elderly person in Cuyahoga County. Additionally, Peter finds out his mother has been kidnapped because she didn’t show up to their special meeting in a parking garage. Seriously, Peter? If my son was a mob boss, I’d demand he rent out an entire resort in Mexico for our rendezvous. Cheap skate.
Also, kind of lame that the leader of the mob syndicate wasn’t a woman. It would have been awesome to watch two lady villains in this movie.
Near the end, Peter and Rosamund predictably decide to become mob partners in crime.
Again I yelled at the tv, hollering, “you’re joking!” These two “masterminds” create a guardianship conglomerate. And at this point of the movie, we enter into a Return-of-the-King-multiple-endings scenario where it feels like the film is over, but then another scene bursts onto the screen.
As their national corporation explodes, no one appears to question her intentions. And, to be honest, at this part of the movie, I was like, “ok, this kind of makes sense. Corporations are villainous people who drain the life out of everyday Americans.” And for a brief, shining moment, I found myself in the same mental state I was in for the first 25 minutes. It would have been amazing if the movie centered on her growing this business and becoming a corrupt corporation. What a statement it would be on the danger of privatizing social work with little oversight from competent government officials looking to protect the weak and disadvantaged prey from greedy corporations! Rosamund and Eiza are cruising around in their hot sports car and jumping into pools of money a la Scrooge McDuck. They’ve made it. All they have left to do is make more and more money. This is a realistic example of the #AmericanDream in a state of NeoCapitalism.
So it would make sense that the movie would end here, right?
WRONG. Enter red hat guy who randomly shoots her in the chest as she’s leaving an interview. She dies.
WHAT? Why? Just as the movie was making sense again, another curve ball is hurled into the audience’s confused faces. I suppose the point is that you can’t take advantage of people and expect no one to stop you, but that’s simply not true in America. Everyone scams everyone and that’s how you get to the top! Or perhaps it’s commentary on how men do take down women, whether they’re doing good work or bad work. The messaging and purpose of this film is all over the place and it’s unclear what meanings audiences are supposed to extrapolate from this messy script.
Also, Peter has gymnast rings in his high-rise mob boss office but this practice is never addressed or circled back to at any other point in this “musical or comedy” film.
In summation, watch this movie if you want hair inspo but other than that, rewatch season 3 of the Gilmore Girls. It will be a better use of your Saturday afternoon.