Plot: Martha (Ellen DeGeneres) has a thriving career and an enjoyable lifestyle, but her love life hasn’t been the most successful of her efforts. While she is mostly content being single and wants to hold out for Mr. Right, as she gets a little older, the pressures mount for her to find a suitable partner. Her family and friends have been pushing her for years, but she doesn’t give in until her younger sister gets married, as that seems to be a wake up call of sorts. So Martha hits the singles scene and finds herself in one terrible date after another, while those close to her nudge her toward settling, which she can’t stomach the idea of. But then she meets Whitman (Bill Pullman), a handsome romantic who captures her attention in no time. The two begins a whirlwind courtship, but when she starts to notice some odd quirks in Whitman’s behavior, will she discover Mr. Right might not be all he’s cracked up to be?
Entertainment Value: This outlandish movie won’t go down as a comedy classic, but I think it has some charm and Bill Pullman’s performance as a bizarre, obsessed suitor makes it worth a look. The narrative is by no means an original one, playing off a host of typical romantic comedy tropes, but the descent into absurd chaos is what helps Mr. Wrong earn some points. The run to that descent is a little slow, but I can’t help but have a little fun watching Pullman in action here, as he really brings a weird energy to the colorful Whitman. The tone is outlandish and over the top once all that starts, so I can see how fans of romantic comedies might be put off, while it never veers enough out of the genre framework to have wide appeal to those who might not ordinarily visit a film of this kind. I can’t claim all the humor lands, as some of the jokes are rather lame or fall flat, but I think the back half of the movie is solid enough to warrant a look, especially to those who appreciate offbeat humor and performances. I wish the entire movie was in that vein and the first half was more consistent, but the cast is good and I can’t deny how much fun Pullman’s presence is here.
If you can’t tell from the above, the main reason to visit Mr. Wrong is Bill Pullman, who pretty much carries the entire movie. He is surrounded by some solid talent, but he has the most memorable performance and he really goes for it as Whitman, an approach that saves the movie, in my opinion. Without Pullman’s wild performance here, I don’t think there would be much to recommend here, as almost all of the funniest scenes center on his character. I love that he is able to channel such over the top vibes, but also keep a palpable stalker energy as well, a kind of darkly comic effort that easily steals the show. A lot of performers might have just phoned in their work here, given that the script is no gem, but Pullman shows up and runs with the concept, giving us a reason to tune in. Ellen DeGeneres is fine here as well, but doesn’t do much outside of her normal routine. I think her scenes with Pullman fare better than the others, but if you’re a big fan of Ellen’s comedic style, perhaps you’ll get more out of this than I did. The cast also includes Hope Davis, Dean Stockwell, and Joan Cusack.
The Disc: Mr. Wrong is available on Blu-ray from KL Studio Classics, who serve up a solid, passable visual treatment. The print looks clean and detail is competent, though it won’t dazzle in terms of depth or refinement. The colors look natural and contrast is consistent, so no concerns there. Not the most dynamic presentation, but a rock solid release. The film’s trailer is also included.