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Breaking News in Yuba County (Movie Review) Allison Janney, Mila Kunis

Breaking News in Yuba County (Movie Review) Allison Janney, Mila Kunis
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PLOT: A shy and timid woman becomes a local celebrity when word travels that her husband may have been kidnapped. However, the truth is a very different story.

REVIEW:  This past year, Allison Janney gave yet another astounding performance opposite Hugh Jackman in Bad Education. It's always impressive how seamlessly she disappears in a role. Her work has always been so great, so consistent, that I always look forward to a film whether she's a headliner or just part of an ensemble. And in her latest, Breaking News in Yuba County, the actress commands the screen as a woman just looking for a little attention. The Tate Taylor (Ma, The Help) directed feature offers an incredible cast that includes Mila Kunis, Juliette Lewis, Awkwafina, Ellen Barkin, Matthew Modine, Jimmi Simpson, Wanda Sykes, Clifton Collins Jr., Regina Hall, and tons more. It also features a sharp and witty script from Amanda Idoko. Let's bring on the crazy with this slice of weirdly delightful entertainment.

Sue Buttons (Janney) can't stand up for herself. Even when the woman at the market refuses to change her name on a birthday cake from "Suc" to "Sue." She does not lead a charmed life. And when she catches her husband Karl (Modine) with another woman, tragedy occurs. Yet instead of reporting the death, Sue decides that it would be better if her husband went missing instead of what actually occurs. Soon, with the help of her small-time journalist sister Nancy (Kunis), she tells her "story" to the press. Yet that's not enough for Sue. Instead of just sticking with her sister, she convinces the popular talk show host Gloria Michaels (Lewis) that her husbands' disappearance is connected to a missing girl that has captured the heart of America. And all of these events create a series of mayhem and violence with a couple of thugs (Awkwafina, Collins Jr.) looking for stolen cash that they believe was in Karl's possession.

It's been a long while since I've seen a comedy like this. The kind where they load up the cast, create an outrageous narrative and let the insanity fly. Breaking News in Yuba County has much to delight in. Allison Janney is brilliantly utilized and creates a wildly sympathetic character in Sue Buttons. What could have easily disintegrated into a caricature is made vulnerable and real thanks to Janney's excellent performance. Yet it all starts with the script. Amanda Idoko's tale of a woman seeking attention is engaging, incredibly charming, and pretty damn brutal. The twists and turns come at you pretty fast, and somehow the script allows for nearly every actor involved to have their moment. While it doesn't always work, as the twists are a bit obvious, and you probably won't be too surprised by the outcome, there's a lot to appreciate here.

This is a loaded cast of characters. And thankfully, every actor involved appears to be having a hell of a good time. The stand-out, aside from Janney, is Juliette Lewis who captures the essence of real-life talk show host Nancy Grace. Gloria Michaels oozes fake sincerity. She shows the utmost understanding of Sue's situation, as long as it's in service for her own needs. As well, Awkwafina and Clifton Collins Jr. make for an intriguing couple of heavies looking for stolen money. The two create a comically and believably vicious twosome who create serious anxiety for anybody that they happen to run into. With this kind of cast, it's easy to forgive a few of the minor quibbles that may come up while watching this daffy little adventure.

Director Tate Taylor is no stranger to dealing with ensemble casts and finding a few layers to explore. In Breaking News, he attempts to inject a spirit of fun in all the shenanigans going on. And for much of it, he succeeds. When the final act arrives and the bodies begin to hit the floor, the film takes a decidedly different tone. What appears to be a comedy about greed and questionable morals and what would someone do for attention, soon turns a bit morbid and dark - perhaps a tad cynical. Yes, by the final act you'll find the tone is more morose than you may expect. Much like a comedy like the Jonathan Demme cult classic Something Wild, the outcome takes a bleak turn for those folks surrounding poor Sue Buttons. It's sure a weird and wild ride getting there.

Breaking News in Yuba County isn't going to win any Oscars. It might even make certain members of the audience a bit ill with its almost cruel brutality. However, it offers enough laughs and heart to give those in the mood for hilarity and mayhem something to enjoy. Allison Janney is fantastic in the leading role, and she keeps you connected to her plight - even if you soon realize that she may not have the best intentions. If you are looking for an over-the-top comedy to forget about all the serious insanity going on, this mix of murder, blackmail, hijinx, and comedy may be something you'd be happy to take on. However, be warned, this is an R-rated comedy with a very vicious edge and a body count. If you're keen on that, make sure you pay attention to the breaking news coming out of Yuba County, it's news you can use.

Source: JoBlo.com

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