Widows meets Goodfellas in this adaptation of the Vertigo comic book series from DC Entertainment, in which three housewives take over their gangster husbands' racket in late 70s New York.
When their rather dim husbands are jailed for three years after robbing a liquor store, the Hell's Kitchen Irish mob promises to look after their wives financially. When the mob doesn't follow through, the broke and downtrodden Kathy (McCarthy), Ruby (Haddish) and Claire (Moss) decide they have little choice but to pick up where their husbands left off, and start up a protection and collection business.
How this comes about so easily is hard to fathom, but it turns out they're well suited to the work and are soon running their Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood. This "girl power" theme initially has legs, but as the trio become increasingly powerful and violent their moral compass wavers, and as a result, so does our attachment to them.
The lead cast is solid, with McCarthy, Haddish and Moss throwing everything at a story which starts with pace and panache, and then slows down and never gets going again.
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Writer and director Andrea Berloff (an Oscar award winning screenwriter) squanders the potential for a great story, instead presenting thinly written characters, and a narrative and editing which are at times bizarre.
It feels like The Kitchen has been played around with so much that those involved lost sight of the film they set out to make - one minute it's sassy and fun, the next, a violent, gritty crime story. Not forgetting it's also a buddy movie, which rocks along to a soundtrack featuring Fleetwood Mac – which may be the best memory Berloff leaves us with.
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss
Director: Andrea Berloff
Running time: 102 mins
Rating: R16 (Violence, domestic violence & offensive language)
Verdict: An unfortunate waste of an awesome cast