Ever since Netflix introduced its Top 10 badges, we’ve all gotten some insights into the collective psyche of Netflix devotees across the world. Apparently, we’re all really into the undying friendship between Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini on Dead To Me; we will watch Chris Hemsworth do just about anything for two hours, and we are so desperate to feel like we’re at the beach that we’ll watch couples try not to have sex for 10 episodes of Too Hot to Handle. But the newest Top 10 inductee is a bit more perplexing: Why is everyone on Netflix watching The Wrong Missy?
No offence to Lauren Lapkus (a delightful comedian who deserves better than to be the star of this oddball flick), but The Wrong Missy is uh, not good. It’s a Happy Madison (aka Adam Sandler’s production company) picture, so most of us should have known that if Murder Mystery wasn’t our cup of tea, this lowbrow movie wouldn’t be either, but Murder Mystery is nothing compared to this production. The plot is so outdated, I’d believe you if you told me the script was written in 1998 and accidentally resuscitated for 2020 thanks to a filing error.
David Spade plays Tim, a “loveable” executive at a big bank with swanky offices (way to read the room, Missy). His ex-fianceé (a seemingly normal woman played by Sarah Chalke, who dumped Tim for an absolute dufus for… some reason) left him heartbroken, so he goes on a blind date with Missy (Lapkus). The only problem is that Lapkus is a terrible date who nearly gets him beat up by another bar patron (played by WWE wrestler Roman Reigns) and makes increasingly weird and offensive choices during their dinner. The date ends with Tim climbing out a window to escape Missy, breaking his ankle, and having it set back in place by the woman he vows to never call again. Dramatic much, Tim? Jump forward a year, and Tim meets another Missy (this time played by Molly Sims) at the airport and gets her number. After bragging about the beauty queen and Ivy League scholar to his coworkers, he invites Missy on their corporate retreat in Hawaii only to find out that he texted — you guessed it — The Wrong Missy. The characters reiterate this phrase a few times, in case you forget what movie you’re watching at any point.
Though Tim does eventually learn to appreciate and even love Missy, forsaking his ex for Missy and later begging Missy to take him back, that doesn’t really make up for the awful things the movie does along the way. For starters, the premise is pretty disgusting — something the movie never seems to realise. Tim only invites Missy to the retreat in hopes of using her as a trophy to piss off his ex. Also, while it’s pretty childish that Tim would rather break his ankle than make a normal get-out-date excuse at his first dinner with Missy, our titular “heroine” is kind of awful, too. She’s a mean drunk who calls Tim’s coworkers “porkers” and screws over the only woman in the entire company who actually does her job (a “mean girl” played by Sandler’s wife Jackie Sandler) in order to get “good guy” Tim a promotion. She also gives her new beau a non-consensual hand job (he eventually consents... which is not how consent works) when they first meet on the airplane, in full sight of their fellow passengers, all of whom seem pretty disgusted with the act.
But her actions still don’t justify how terrible everyone is back to her. Tim treats her like garbage, doing things like tricking her to stay back in the room so he can hide her from his coworkers and talking about her like she’s a plague behind her back. The other bankers on the retreat remark that she’s clearly not the “beauty queen” Tim initially bragged about (rude, Lapkus is a babe). Tim and his best friend also refer to her as literally “the wrong Missy” multiple times, like she and Molly Sims are nothing more than interchangeable sex partners in Tim’s deck.
And yes, at this point, you’re probably thinking this is a Happy Madison movie, what did you expect? Well, I expected to hopefully, maybe understand why so many people are spending their quarantine with this movie — and maybe, just maybe, that all the movie’s initial awfulness has a point.
It doesn’t: In the end, Tim mopes for a few short scenes after insulting Missy and losing her, only to win her back by tricking her into a date.
But I do think I finally understand why so many people are watching it en masse, because it’s the only reason I was able to get through all 90 minutes: The Wrong Missy is the epitome of an aeroplane movie. It’s glossy and colourful, with all the hallmarks of a big budget comedy. You just know, from the premise and the trailer, that this is not going to be a great film, and yet, you’re drawn to it. A morbid curiosity grows, demanding that you find out if it’s really as god-awful as it looks. Trapped in your seat — or in the case of quarantine, your home — time feels unreal. It’s almost begging to be wasted on something mindless and distracting, like watching a movie you know will be bad.