The Austin Chronicle

Addicted to Fresno

Rated R, 85 min. Directed by Jamie Babbit. Starring Natasha Lyonne, Judy Greer, Aubrey Plaza, Ron Livingston, Malcolm Barrett, Jessica St. Clair, Fred Armisen, Molly Shannon, Michael Hitchcock, Allison Tolman.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Oct. 2, 2015

Amusing but slight, Addicted to Fresno gets by mostly on the comic good will of its co-stars Natasha Lyonne and Judy Greer. A host of other familiar comic actors – Aubrey Plaza, Ron Livingston, Fred Armisen, Molly Shannon, among them – also appear in supporting roles. Yet it’s not enough to make this movie the rollicking comedy it ought to have been.

Directed by Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader, which also starred Lyonne) and written by Karey Dornetto (producer and writer for numerous TV series, most recently Portlandia), Addicted to Fresno is a dark comedy about twisted sisters, but it lacks bite. Older sister Shannon (Greer) is just out of rehab for sex addiction, her most recent conquest being her therapist (Livingston). Younger sis Martha (Lyonne) bailed Shannon out of jail and paid for rehab, as well as housing the miscreant and landing her a job as a maid at the Fresno Suites, alongside her. In addition to screwing everyone in her immediate radius, Shannon has a sour disposition that cuts off all attempts from others at friendliness at the knees. Meanwhile, Martha, a lesbian who keeps getting involved with incompatible women, wants to fix her sister.

Before long, a corpse shows up in one of their hotel suites, the haywire result of one of Shannon’s liaisons. The rest of the movie becomes a shaggy corpse story as the sisters move from one set-piece to the next trying to unload the body without getting caught. Some of the movie’s barbs draw genuine laughs, but there aren’t enough to sustain a whole movie – even with outtake bloopers tacked on during the end credits. Still, you find yourself rooting for these women, even if their adventures aren’t always up to snuff.

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