Role Play REVIEW – Bore Play

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Role Play
Role Play

Kaley Cuoco has made some not-too-bad choices after The Big Bang Theory. She was in decent TV shows like The Flight Attendant and Based on a True Story, and I even enjoyed Meet Cute, a rom-com she starred in last year with Pete Davidson. Role Play isn’t even in the same league as these aforementioned titles, because it’s not very good. It’s disappointing because the premise sounded promising, but unfortunately it just ends up being a pretty dull time.

Cuoco plays Emma, an assassin leading a double life. She lives in suburbia with her husband Dave (David Oyelowo) and her two children, and sometimes takes trips to do jobs so that she can make money for her family’s protection. When she decided to marry Dave, she left Sovereign, a company of assassins, and they’ve been trying to bring her back to the fold ever since. After Emma forgets her wedding anniversary, she decides to make it up to Dave by proposing a role play scenario. They would meet at a hotel as strangers, using aliases, and chat each other up. It was a way to make things exciting in their married life again.

Unfortunately, Emma is immediately identified when she’s at the bar waiting for Dave, and now her whole double life is about to spill out into the open.

The main issue the movie contends with is the genre it’s supposed to be in. Is it like a romantic action comedy type of film, like Knight and Day, or is it straight up more of an action flick? It’s labelled as a mystery/thriller, yet there’s so many comedic moments in this that say otherwise. Also, Cuoco and Oyelowo are not believable as a couple who are deeply in love. The movie had a chance to show us how they fell in love with the whole hotel bar situation, but there’s barely any interaction between the two as we’re already dealing with a potentially dangerous situation due to Bill Nighy’s Bob (who always looks like he’s about to hip thrust into something).

When Dave finds out Emma’s secret, his reaction doesn’t make sense at all. It’s a deep betrayal – his spouse has a whole double life and is an assassin – yet he doesn’t seem to care. Does it not bother him that his wife murders people for a living? This is why a more camp approach would allow all this to make more sense.

The action sequences aren’t great as all these characters don’t even feel like assassins. The shots are either something happening far away, like Emma disposing a fellow assassin from afar, or quick action that happens mostly off screen. It’s also difficult to believe that head of Sovereign Gwen Carver would go to so much trouble to get Emma back alive. The entire premise would be easier to buy into if Sovereign is looking to kill Emma for leaving the organisation. And the fact that Emma managed to evade them for so long kind of makes me think they’re not very good at their jobs.

Role Play’s lack of worldbuilding is its biggest flaw. Ironically, it feels like we’re watching characters play dress up, so none of the unfolding action matters.

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Role Play
I know Role Play is standard streaming fare, but did it have to be so run of the mill dull? There is a better movie lurking here, but the film never puts in the work to get there.