Role Play (2024) Movie Review – A charmless piece of fluff masquerading as a comic thriller

A charmless piece of fluff masquerading as a comic thriller

Not every movie has to aspire to be high art. And not every movie needs to change the face of cinema. But a movie that has aspirations to be a comic thriller needs to be both funny and thrilling, right? Sadly, this isn’t something that can be said about Role Play, a new movie streaming on Prime Video, which fails to raise either a smile or excitement levels. It’s not necessarily a terrible film. Rather, it’s just so bland and predictable, in a TV pilot sort of way. 

The movie stars Kaley Cuoco as Emma, a loving wife and mom who, near the story’s beginning, forgets her wedding anniversary. The reason she forgot is because she was away for work; a job far removed from the one she has fabricated to fool her devoted husband Dave (David Owelowo). He thought she was away at a boring work conference but in truth, she was out of town for a contract killing, with her being the assassin. 

It’s not long before Emma’s domestic life becomes blurred with her professional life when she and her husband head to a bar to embark on a little bit of role-play to spice up their relationship. But their best-formed plans are spoiled when Emma is recognized by a rival assassin (Bill Nighy) who interrupts their evening by role-playing a character of his own. 

Emma is wise to what is going on so, to protect her cover, does what needs to be done with this threat to her evening of passion. But when pictures of her and the hitman go public, she attracts both the police and members of a shadowy organization she once worked for to her door. Dave attracts the same attention as he was present in the photos, and this, as you might expect, results in him discovering his wife’s true identity. 

The movie’s premise is rather old-hat. Recently, The Family Plan and Ghosted played with similar themes, but the concept of a suburbanite having a secret identity dates back to 1994’s True Lies and possibly movies before that. The lack of originality wouldn’t be a problem if the movie was a good one but as it doesn’t excel in any area, it’s all rather run of the mill. 

Cuoco and Owelyo both deliver good performances, however, so the movie consistently remains watchable. Bill Nighy is particularly excellent value as a gun for hire, and more of him on screen would have been a good thing. Sadly, he disappears from view just as the movie is starting to get interesting, so we are left in the company of the two leads who manage to elevate the tired script with their performances. 

For a movie like this to really work, we need a few exciting set pieces and moments of endangerment to make us truly care about the main characters. Unfortunately, action is in very short supply and what there is of it isn’t very good. Cuoco acquits herself well in these scenes but as they’re so blandly choreographed, they become instantly forgettable.

There’s also never a moment when we think Emma, Dave, or their children are truly in any danger, so pathetic are the villains of the piece who never once manage to raise the threat level. Its problems like these that undermine the movie, relegating it to the level of charmless fluff than anything comparable to an enjoyable caper. 

Another problem with the movie is the nonsensical script. Emma is told to lay low by her handler as her presence is being noticed by shady types on the dark web. So, why then does she decide to hit the town with her husband and spend time at a crowded bar? And later, when she is on the run from some nefarious do-badders, why does she decide to knock one of them out in front of a stopping train? If she is such a good assassin, as we are led to believe, why is she incapable of staying hidden? It’s baffling!

Despite the movie’s faults, it’s not a waste of time if all you’re looking for is a pleasant time filler. You won’t remember much about it after the end credits have rolled but you are unlikely to consider the movie boring.  But if you’re hoping for a movie that will make you laugh one moment and make you tense up the next, then you’re going to be left wanting as the unoriginal script fails to hit its intended targets. 


Read More: Role Play Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 5.5/10

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