Side note, I did not know that this film was based on a DC Vertigo comic book series. I wanted to see this because of the sheer star power in the film. Elisabeth Moss is steadily growing rightfully because of her recent role in A Handmaid’s Tale. Tiffany Haddish has boomed in comedic roles recently. While Melissa McCarthy has been on the scene for a while and been in some really bad films, she has talent as evidenced in Can You Ever Forgive Me? Unfortunately, The Kitchen does not really live up to what it could have been.
The film is about three wives that come together when their mobster husbands are put in prison for three years. The women need to make a living so they start taking over the crime scene in NYC (particularly the Hell’s Kitchen area) and start getting money from local businesses that they shake down, while butting heads with rival mobsters. They trio soon see an unprecedented rise in status, respect, and wealth but with that comes a great price as they make a lot of enemies.
Firstly, all three actresses are great in this. This is the strongest Tiffany Haddish performance to date as we’ve rarely seen her in a serious element. The writing in this film is messy, uneven, and somewhat bland. Its also hard to root for the characters. Sure, they have been put down in their relationships but they are full fledged criminals and murderers, are we meant to want them to succeed? After a while you just go through the motions and realize that what we see could have been a lot better and more engaging.
I feel like Widows does a similar story way better than The Kitchen ever could have. Its also too on the nose that this is about women coming out of the shadows of men and dropping ball jokes along the way. You can have strong female characters without having to make the gender statements. Overall, messy writing is the real downfall in a film that could have and should have offered a lot more for its viewers.