It's a Guy Thing

The Wrong Missy

A review by Asher Luberto

Though we’ve yet to be graced with a Happy Madison classic this decade, The Wrong Missy invokes the anarchic spirit of Adam Sandler’s early romps–all while stealing some of his jokes. This lighthearted Netflix comedy starring David Spade borrows from Mr. DeedsJust Go With It, and more, but its callbacks never take away from what’s on screen. What’s on screen, you ask? The usual: slapstick, dick jokes, boring guys getting beautiful girls, a tropical resort where everyone can hang out between takes and Rob Schneider playing Rob Schneider in a cameo.

Directed by Tyler Spindel, who previously directed Spade in 2018’s Father of the Year, from a script by Chris Pappas and Kevin Barnett, the film is a case of nostalgia for a time when slobs could land gorgeous women in comedies. Spade’s Tim Morris isn’t exactly a catch–“what are you, 65?” Melissa (Lauren Lapkus) asks during a terrible blind date– but he manages to meet his dream girl, another Melissa (Molly Sims), in passing at the airport. There’s clearly something in the air as they bond over Phil Collins and James Patterson, so he sends her an invite to his company retreat in Hawaii. Trouble is, he invited blind date Melissa. Whoops! 

If this sounds like the plot of every 90’s comedy–mismatched buddies on a trip–that’s because it is. Right out of Sandler’s playbook, the movie breezes along as straight-guy Tim avoids motormouth Melissa, who, after jumping off a cliff and vomiting on corporate higher-ups, puts his job at risk. Lapkus is committed to her role, cherishing the chance to play Susan Vance on speed even when her character goes way overboard. “We’re either going to get married or I’m going to wind up dead in a ditch,” she says with a demonic laugh. “I’m down for both.” 

Whether or not you’re down for The Wrong Missy depends on your tolerance toward immature humor. For every joke that lands there’s three headscratchers, usually in the form of poor writing or a lazy setup. It can feel like these actors are stuck on an island, partly because they are partying on Oahu’s pristinely lit beaches, actually framed with a semblance of coherence, and partly because Spindel has left Spade and Lapkus to fend for themselves through improv or throwaway one-liners.  

Still, chaos carries the day, especially when Sandler regulars Nick Swardson, Jonathan Loughran and wife, Jackie Sandler, make quick but memorable appearances. Sandler’s kids even show up to yell at Melissa about her life choices. Yes, it’s terrible. But it can also be terribly funny, which is a welcome surprise given Happy Madison’s recent track record.