Queenpins (2021) Movie Review – An amazing premise weakened by poor writing

An amazing premise weakened by poor writing

The premise of Queenpins sees two best friends start an illegal business selling coupons for free items at half price. In doing so, the business unexpectedly balloons into a multi-million-dollar coupon smuggling empire. Loosely based on a true story about Arizona women who cleverly made millions through coupon fraud, the movie follows two best friends, Connie Kaminski and Jojo. Connie is a former Olympic gold medalist in a low-level sport, walking, who is trapped in an unhappy marriage and grieving a miscarriage without her husband’s support.

Her best friend Jojo is an aspiring entrepreneur and Youtuber but suffered a case of identity theft that messed up her credit, making it hard for her to run a legitimate business. 

One day, Connie angrily writes a complaint letter to the cereal company when she realises that the cereals she just bought from the supermarket are stale, and she receives a coupon for a free box of cereals in the mail. Realising that companies send free coupons to customers after a complaint, Connie decides to try it and receives a bunch of coupons for free stuff after sending complaints to several companies. Connie’s obsession with coupons turns criminal when she discovers all coupons come from the same company. Therefore, she ropes in her best friend Jojo and a Mexican husband and wife who work at the coupon printing company, starting a coupon smuggling business and then selling them at half price. 

Queenpins has a fun premise about a pink-collar crime, but the script messes it up due to a lack of focus and an uneven plot. The story could have been great if the writers had concentrated on the thinking of Connie and Jojo and taken a deep dive into the backstories of the people they convinced to join them in their Robin Hood-esque heist. However, it deviates from the primary plot and extends the quirkiness beyond what’s enjoyable as Connie and Jojo start buying Lamborghinis, private jets, and machine guns. The writing is all over the place and does not allow the audience to get invested in a particular plot to create a connection to the script. 

The impeccable characters are the movie’s saving grace despite weak writing. Kristen Bell’s prowess as an actor seamlessly creates a relatable character of a grieving woman without emotional support from her husband. She struggles to do the right thing and is frustrated that some people find success easily without putting ad much work while others have to fight through circumstances that were not even their fault, like her miscarriage and Jojo’s identity theft that crippled her credit. She is bubbly, fun, and a risk-taker. Her best friend, Jojo, is equally frustrated but more cautious about her choices than Connie. The fantastic chemistry between the two drives at the heart of Queenpins, which brings a delightful sweetness and fun to their criminal endeavour. The audience can sympathise with their plight and root for their illegal cause.

Consequently, Queenpins boasts an impressive support cast in Ken Miller and Simon Kilmurry. Ken is a loss prevention officer with a mysterious personality. He strives to be a hot shot, as seen in his professional-like spotting of the fake coupon at the movie’s beginning, but behind closed doors, he is sad and frustrated, just like our main characters. Kilmurry is an inspector for the U.S. Postal Service who prides himself in his work. The two have good chemistry too and create their unique buddy comedy, which is underdeveloped in the writing.

Overall, Queenpins is a charming movie with much potential based on the premise, but weak writing undermines the story. Regardless, it is a fun watch despite its issues and will keep you invested enough to sit through to the movie’s end. 

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