Rid of Me

Film
3 out of 5 stars
Rid of Me

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Think of it as a coming-of-age story ten years too late. Meris (O'Grady), aimless housewife to a dot-com washout (Keyser), relocates to her husband's Oregon hometown, where he takes a job working for his high-school buddies. He falls back into a routine of ball games and racist jokes, while Meris, to her credit, can't find common ground with his friends' catty, superficial spouses. Despite pumping herself up for an awkward gathering by repeating the phrase "You're a social butterfly," she could still take self-esteem pointers from a punching bag. Soon, she's divorced, penniless and stranded in a small town. By now, our heroine's doormat act has worn out its welcome, but when a candy-store coworker (Herrman) introduces her to the belated joys of teenage rebellion, we finally see a spine beneath the character's thin skin.

Writer-director James Westby draws his characters with a broad brush, thickening the mixture with horror-movie music cues and abrupt zooms; Meris eventually outgrows her delayed adolescence, but the movie retains a penchant for snotty snap judgments. O'Grady, at least, gives a nuanced performance, even if she appears to be doing an uncannily accurate impression of Kristen Wiig. When we flash back to happier days or forward to her brutal recriminations, the disparity can be shocking. It's a hallmark of her transformation, but also of a unformed life finally finding its shape.

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