“Queenpins” may be a short comedy, taking 20 minutes and getting a point beyond glorifying grand theft. It also doesn’t hurt to erase the main character’s smug-perky narration.
Primarily set in suburban Phoenix, Ariz. — with pit stops in other decontaminated locations — the film smiles at Connie (Kristen Bell), a cash-strapped coupon cutter whose bland good cheer is a desperate longing for a baby.
“You’re trying to replace a kid with a coupon,” her husband (Joel McHale), a withdrawn IRS agent, observes accurately before disappearing largely from the story. Connie’s true partner, however, is JoJo (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), a flirtatious neighbor and vlogger looking for a break. Together they plan to steal coupons from a printing facility in Mexico and sell them on YouTube. What is the probability of going wrong?
Written and directed by the husband-and-wife team of Aaron Gaudet and Geeta Pulpilli, “Queenpins”, inspired by real events, can’t decide whether its pink-collar criminals are idiots or geniuses. Nor can two men go their own way: a business postal inspector (Vince Vaughn, hungry for decent lines) and the film’s true protagonist, Ken Miller (an excellent Paul Walter Hauser), an official loss-making for a supermarket chain. Redressal Officer. Ken’s longing for respect makes him a ridiculous, even pathetic person; But he has an obstinate, shabby sense of honor that the film sees as a joke and undermines time and again.
Making no secret of where its sympathies lie, “Queenpins” rushes to its ridiculous conclusion with little concern for logic, making sure everyone gets what they want. With the possible exception of spectators.
Rated R for iffy language and icky behavior. Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes. in Theaters. and on Paramount+ Starting 30 September.