Director: Michael Stephenson
Writers: Bob Odenkirk, Philip Zlotorynski, Eric Von Hoffman
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Amber Tamblyn, Rich Sommer, Natasha Lyonne, Toby Huss, Andy Richter, Stacy Keach
Girlfriend’s Day is a wacky comedy about the seedy underbelly of the sentimental world of greeting cards. Bob Odenkirk co-writes and stars as Ray Wentworth, a greeting cards writer who has lost the knack for writing romance cards after his divorce. He’s let go by his company and ends up spending most of his time watching trash TV and looking after his landlord’s nephew in exchange for rent. When the governor declares a new holiday, Girlfriend’s Day, as well as a contest to write the best card for the occasion, Ray tries to rekindle the spark for writing he once had, while also finding out there’s a darker side to his occupation.
Everything about this film is slightly bizarre and offbeat. It starts with David Lynch as a narrator telling you about the industry of greetings cards, and any film that features Lynch is worth watching. It sets the scene perfectly for the quirky world the film inhabits, filled with people taking card writing seriously, seeing it as better than novel writing, a bar where all the card writers hang out, and an almost mobster like approach behind the scenes with the rival companies at the centre of the story.
That quirky energy is kept up really well for the first act, showing Ray as someone down on his luck and the strangeness of everything around him. Before he’s fired, Ray presents some strange ideas to his boss, trying to show that he still has the talent. There’s some good jokes and it’s genuinely fun. But even with the film only being an hour and ten minutes, it runs out of steam really quickly. It feels way too long, and starts to become a bit of a slog to get through. The opening feels like something out of an episode of Pushing Daisies, but it just can’t keep that up for the whole run time.
Bob Odenkirk is still great in the main role, instantly likable as he is in everything he’s in. There’s some interesting cameos and appearances from other people, a lot of people that you’ve seen around in other things, but Odenkirk is the main character and the most memorable of the lot. Later in the film, when it gets a bit more formulaic, there’s still some good moments and a satisfying ending.
Girlfriend’s Day is okay, but it’s nothing special, but it’s entertaining enough to watch. As it’s a Netflix original, it’s probably not worth putting to the top of your watchlist.
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