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Miss Nobody

D: T. Abram Cox / 92m

Cast: Leslie Bibb, Adam Goldberg, Kathy Baker, Barry Bostwick, Geoffrey Lewis, Vivica A. Fox, Eddie Jemison, Patrick Fischler, Paula Marshall, Sam McMurray, Richard Riehle, Missi Pyle, Brandon Routh

When the position of Junior Executive becomes available at Judge Pharmaceuticals, bored secretary Sarah Jane McKinney (Bibb) decides to go for the job. To her surprise she gets it but when she arrives at her new office to begin her “new life”, she finds another executive, Milo Beeber (Routh), has been given the post instead and she is to be his new assistant. After a working dinner one evening, she and Milo end up at his place and when he makes a move on her, Milo ends up dead, albeit accidentally. This one event sets in motion a series of murders, blackmail attempts, career progressions, and the romantic attentions of a homicide detective, Bill Malloy (Goldberg). Through it all, Sarah Jane has to keep her cool and stave off the cutthroat machinations of her colleagues, the growing suspicions of Malloy, and stay “three steps ahead” of everyone else as she ascends the corporate ladder. “Helping” her is her patron saint, St George, who Sarah Jane believes has been guiding and intervening for her since childhood (she also has a bust of St George that she prays to).

Miss Nobody - scene

Miss Nobody is a deftly handled black comedy that benefits from a witty, not entirely unpredictable script, and succeeds thanks to a cast that expertly plays out the twists and turns of the plot. The underrated Bibb is terrific, blending gauche innocence with increasing steeliness in her efforts to get – and stay – ahead. (She also gets the best line in the movie, a perfect rug-pull of the audience’s assumption about her character, and delivered to perfection.)

The supporting cast fares just as well, from the ever-reliable Baker as Sarah Jane’s mother, to Bostwick as a slightly dodgy priest, and Lewis as the McKinney’s sole, dementia-suffering boarder. The various executives in Sarah Jane’s way to the top are all sly, manipulative creeps but they have their various quirks that help distinguish them from each other, and provide the raison d’être for Sarah Jane’s “dealing” with them (how she despatches Patrick Fischler’s arrogant, vile Pierre Jejeune is a particular highlight).

The movie zips along at a good pace, and the various deaths are well set up and executed (so to speak). Doug Steinberg’s script artfully mixes broad comedy, pathos and black humour, and Cox’s direction matches the spirit and genial absurdity of the script’s basic premise. As already noted, there are twists and turns – loads of them –  some delightful exchanges between Sarah Jane and Bill as he tries to unravel the puzzle of so many deaths at one company, and there’s a final cliffhanger that will either annoy you, or – hopefully – make you smile at how appropriate it is.

Rating: 7/10 – charming and entertaining, Miss Nobody is a great way to spend ninety-two minutes, helped immeasurably by Bibb’s wonderful performance, and a very confident script.

Originally posted on thedullwoodexperiment website.

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