Time Out says
The cast is fierce but this drab mob-movie vehicle is begging to get whacked.
Review by Joshua Rothkopf
Forget about the heat: You won’t want to eat the bland, empty gangster carbs that come out of The Kitchen, set in New York City’s notoriously scuzzy Hell’s Kitchen. The neighborhood was once Taxi Driver–rough in the 1970s; ironically, that era has been lovingly reconstructed for a crime drama with zero personality of its own. Murky and uncertain of itself, The Kitchen is a movie in desperate search of a tone: not quite comedic (its trio of lead actors—Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss—are all stranded in different shades of frustrated wife), nor especially thrilling. When their half-smart, abusive husbands are carted away by the feds, the three can’t make the rent. Fortunately, they’re able to mob up pretty quickly, with laughably few complications, no learning curve and plenty of polyester tops.
Yes, it sounds like Steve McQueen’s Widows, but a radically dumbed-down version with dialogue like “What are we going to do?”—The Kitchen’s painfully on-the-nose script derives from a comic-book series by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle. Even worse, screenwriter-director Andrea Berloff can’t bring herself to lend her stridently symbolic characters any complexity or weakness. They pack heat and sass (and, presumably, a school lunch or two) and you wonder, post–Sopranos and Goodfellas, who would want to dilute such a widely known universe with this kind of weak-sauce fantasizing. No matter: The showdowns have a way of ending abruptly, without any payoff. When featherweight Domhnall Gleeson, as an intense angel of death, is your feminist Irish mob movie’s most interesting asset, you need to find Hollywood’s witness-protection program immediately.
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Cast and crew