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'Desperados' review: 'SNL's Nasim Pedrad the one bright spot in otherwise silly movie

Sarah Burns as Kaylie, Nasim Pedrad as Wesley

Sarah Burns as Kaylie, Nasim Pedrad as Wesley and Anna Camp as Brooke in Netflix's "Desperados" . (2020) Credit: NETFLIX/Cate Cameron

MOVIE "Desperados"

WHEN | WHERE Now streaming on Netflix

WHAT IT'S ABOUT After Wesley (Nasim Pedrad, best known for a multiseason stint on "Saturday Night Live") sends an unfortunate and hasty email to her crush Jared (Robbie Amell), she cajoles friends Brooke (Anna Camp) and Kaylie (Sarah Burns) to join her on a trip to a resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where she intends to delete the email from his phone before he sees it.

Jared is separated from his device because he's hospitalized, you see, having been in a medically induced coma after an accident. It's every bit as stupid as it sounds.

MY SAY Suspension of disbelief is a fundamental necessity when it comes to enjoying most any escapist entertainment. But the logical leap required to accept a premise as monumentally stupid as this one transcends mere suspension of disbelief and lands somewhere more troubling — here is an entire movie comprised of antics that could have been resolved with a simple, explanatory phone call.

No matter how much one tries to get with the program in "Desperados," a new movie now streaming on Netflix, it is impossible to ignore this reality. The screenplay by Ellen Rapoport strains to distract from this fact by having Wesley act as no human would — risking life and limb to break into Jared's room and delete that cursed email. She's electrocuted, she suffers pratfalls, she's accused of terrible things, spends a night in jail and yet remains undeterred.

This is an extraordinary degree of misery to endure in order to avoid a difficult but easily surmountable conflict. We are to regard Wesley's willingness to subject herself to it as an indictment of her insecurities, but the screenplay mostly makes her seem impossibly stubborn and obtuse. This would not be worth it for the dreamiest of all men, and is certainly not at all justifiable for this Jared, a boring and controlling type.

That's especially true given the presence of Sean (Lamorne Morris), a failed blind date from early in the movie who happens to conveniently be spending some time at the very same resort at which Wesley has become public enemy number one. He is everything Jared is not: understanding, kind, invested in Wesley and her life despite Wesley's obliviousness, and steadfastly committed to helping her on her quest.

It's easy to see where this is going and frustrating when the vagaries of the screenplay, directed by LP, place obstacle after obstacle in the path of the obvious conclusion. It is stretched beyond the point of being thin.

In fact, there's so little going on of interest or significance that the filmmakers add a B plot that might as well have consisted of a blank screen for 10 or so minutes, in which the best friends take a trip to a guru named Angel de la Paz, played bizarrely by Heather Graham as a half-baked Gwyneth Paltrow parody.

This is a very bad movie, with one significant bright spot. Nasim Pedrad is an excellent actor — funny and charming, with the sort of charisma required to carry a broad comedy. Any laughs in "Desperados" are directly attributable to her ability to wring humor out of inanity. She should be a movie star and she deserves better than this. 

BOTTOM LINE We all need to escape right now, but this is not the movie to get you there.

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