‘The Kitchen’ Serves Up Some Cold Food (Movie Review)

The Kitchen Movie ReviewThe Kitchen sounds like it should be a cooking talk show.  Does it not?  Come on it doesn’t hurt to start a review off by being silly and don’t tell me you’re not thinking along those lines either.  The ironic part about The Kitchen too is how excited I am for it.  I say that because I never used to be a fan of Melissa McCarthy at all.  I used to avoid everything she was in.  Then the unthinkable happened.  I reluctantly checked out a press screening for the new Ghostbusters a few years back and left the theater instantly a fan.  Ever since then I instantly, like overnight kind of instantly, became a fan of hers and I even by free choice watched her Rated-R Muppets movie last year.  While it wasn’t that good it was at least somewhat tolerable, but I digress.  I’m all about strong women in my movies and from the trailer The Kitchen doesn’t look like an exception at all.  We’re so used to seeing men in these kind of crime, gangster roles so I’m stoked to see how the women proverbially take care of the business.  Bring it!

The Kitchen is both written and directed by Andrea Berloff.  If that name doesn’t sound familiar to you, that’s because its Andrea’s directorial debut.  The film is actually based on a Vertigo comic book miniseries of the same name.  I guess you could kind of call this one a DC Entertainment film since they own the Vertigo comics brand.  Our feature here showcases Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss as the wives of Irish mobsters who take over organized crime in the 1970s in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood following the arrests of their husbands.  In addition to the trio of powerful women the movie also features Domhnall Gleason, James Badge Dale, Brian d’Arcy James, Margo Martindale, Common and Bill Camp.  And now that we have all that information out of the way let’s take a closer deep dive into the plot of The Kitchen.

The three aforementioned leading ladies in this feature are all married housewives to Irish mobster husbands.  I guess you can say they take matters into their own hands when their husbands are sent to the slammer by the FBI, but I am getting ahead of myself a bit.  Rest assured the intro wastes no time in getting them to the slammer, but its told in such a way that you get a brief insight into each of the three women’s lives: one being an ordinary mom (McCarthy), the other a reluctant punching bag for her husband (Moss) and the final one in an interracial marriage with a sadistic mobster of a mother-in-law (Haddish).  Good times!  Once the deal goes sour and the men are sent to prison the women are left to fend for their own.  What I mean by that is there’s no one exactly bringing home the bacon anymore.  So an idea is hatched and rather quickly and surely the trio because a force to be reckoned with in the Irish mob scene.  Not only do they provide the private business of Hell’s Kitchen protection, but they become quite the execution squad throughout too.  Oh yeah!  There’s significant body count and casualties here.

The Kitchen

Ordinarily given everything that I just recounted up above this sounds like a great movie when words like I used are construed into sentences.  However, it’s all about the execution of things here.  It moves at the speed of a man who can’t grow a real beard.  In other words it’s slow as molasses (look at how bored McCarthy looks in the image up above…ha ha).  I don’t want to fault it solely for that though.  There’s more.  It may be just me, but when you’re talking about a gangster film set in the 1970s there’s so many possibilities of where you can take things.  First off, there’s a killer soundtrack of songs to choose from.  The Kitchen is no exception to this rule as they use some classics.  It’s the way they are utilized though.  They just don’t propel the story powerfully forward like they should.  I swear I feel like I heard some of the songs even repeated.  This isn’t Michael Bay’s Transformers!  I already talked about the pacing so let’s drill into my third nitpick.  The story as it unfolds just feels so convenient.  I wanted more challenges for the ladies…more suffering initially too.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are many things I do like about The Kitchen.  Obviously I love the strong women and the formidable ensemble cast.  The standouts for me were definitely the performances and chemistry between Gleason and Moss.  There were also a couple twists too, which I really dug.  However, my biggest praise for the film has to be the gore factor.  It’s a comic book movie so I welcomed it with open arms, but I appreciated it more because of the oh too convenient rollout of the story.  It created some shocking moments and when things are moving like paint is drying and the audio isn’t really bumping you it makes you appreciate the little things you get.  And let’s face it what you get is basically leftovers from the night before…a meh meal.  The Kitchen, opening this weekend, definitely doesn’t serve the 5-star meal you deserve.

The Kitchen


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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