Not much savvy humor but some wisdom about 30 somethings and love.
Director: LP (Mr. Mom 2019)
Screenplay: Ellen Rapoport
Cast: Nasim Pedrad (Aladdin), Anna Camp (Pitch Perfect)
Runtime: 1h 45m
By: John DeSando
“Welcome to 30 where every weekend is a baby shower and the hangovers last for two days.” Anonymous
Desperados is a romantic comedy lacking witty comedy but enough about 30-somethings and their romance to save it. Although contemporary dating practices are well known, this drama looks at the underside of women in love at a time in their lives when some are obsessed with having a man and others obsessed with having babies and others with pursuing divorce.
The heroines of this small tale have no peace, for they are always considering how to have or keep a relationship. Do any of these cinema ladies have jobs? Their full-time job is to have and hold a man. Seems somehow antiquated in our modern times, but I suspect those notions of having someone still occupy a prominent place for young women.
Wes (Nasim Pedrad) engages two friends (Anna Camp and Sarah Burns) to accompany her to Mexico to retrieve a scathing email she sent to a new boyfriend, who has not yet opened it because of an accident that leaves him temporarily distracted. The logistics are not important; the importance is that she regrets being honest in that email because she fears losing him, rather than being independent enough to risk all and be herself.
The pressure to have a companion is palpable for Wes, and by implication the other women. Such a notion seems out of time for us in 2020: We encourage independence and self-reliance. However, director LP and writer Ellen Rappaport nudge out of hiding the universal and pervasive imperative for young women to mate and produce children.
In that way Desperados reveals the desperate trap for women at the cultural crossroads of 30—to seek male companionship or strike out on their own. For this film, the resolution is graceful if not formulaic: the right man will come along if you are not looking for him. Somethings never change.
Desperados is an innocuous romantic comedy from Netflix with sparsely-witty dialogue but more profound implications about the way our culture offers only a couple of solutions to the imperatives it has imposed on young women.
John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com