Maggie Moore(s)


Double Trouble

Main Cast: Jon Hamm, Tina Fey

Director: John Slattery

One of the best things about our age of excess streaming content is the chance to stumble on a movie that flew completely under your radar. Maybe even take a chance on a movie that the critics didn’t much like. Why not? You can always bail. It’s not like you paid for cinema tickets.

And so it is that I was browsing on Hulu and came across Maggie Moore(s). This critically drubbed (running at 49% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.2 on IMDb) black comedy/thriller hybrid kicks off with a man and wife at odds over money.

Jay Moore (Michah Stock) runs a sandwich franchise that is not…thriving. This is not the life he promised his wife Maggie (Louisa Krause). He’s cutting what turns out to be some dangerous corners and when things go sideways we meet Sheriff Jordan Sanders (Jon Hamm).

Every small town sheriff has a right hand man and Sanders has Deputy Reddy (Nick Mohammed). They meet the Moore’s neighbor Rita (Tina Fey) and Sanders is smitten. The rest of Maggie Moore(s) follows the investigation as the bad guys bumble their way from one crime to the next and the lawmen pursue this deeply odd case in their dusty little desert town.

Maggie Moore(s) is an extremely watchable, Coen-esque dark comedy with enough of a bite to keep you watching. Jon Hamm has been showing up as the bad guy a lot lately (in both Season 5 of Fargo and Season 3 of The Morning Show) and it’s great to see him play this earnest sheriff. He plays straight man to Mohammed’s inappropriately jolly deputy and the pairing works well. I haven’t seen Mohammed in anything other than Ted Lasso and it’s nice to see him step off the pitch.

Tina Fey is a little under-used but I like her character a lot. Rita is a work in progress. She’s seen some heartache and she’s lonely, making her easy banter with Sheriff Sanders feel like a drink after a long dry spell. These three primary performances hold the movie together.

My one complaint is that Maggie Moore(s) is told from an omniscient third person point of view. That means we know what’s happening before the sheriff and deputy figure it out. That’s a frustrating way to frame a story and it saps some of the tension.

On the other hand, we get to see how Jay Moore stumbles and fumbles his way into deeper and deeper trouble. In that way it reminds me of the original Fargo. We watch this hapless fool dig his hole as the really bad guys hand him a bigger shovel.

Maggie Moore(s) is not a deep movie. We don’t delve into the characters, we don’t learn any lessons about the folly of men, and we definitely don’t come away with any sort of renewed hope in the goodness of humanity.

But it’s darkly fun. It’s fun to watch Jon Hamm be good to a fault. It’s fun to watch Nick Mohammed spread his wings a little. It’s fun to watch Hamm and Tina Fey bring their easy chemistry and tremendous talent to their characters’ awkward new relationship. The unrepentant darkness of the crimes is offset by this irreverent lightness.

Maggie Moore(s)’ director, John Slattery, isn’t afraid to just let the movie be what it is: a bit of a Coen rip-off with a great cast having a good time with their characters and their story. The violence is plentiful and over the top enough to become cartoonish, but it will still make you squirm. We want these guys to get caught, and it’s easy to root for our small town police force.

Sometimes the critical consensus is wrong. In the case of Maggie Moore(s) I think it is and I recommend it without hesitation to Coen fans and anyone who likes the main cast.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get Netflix Dates emailed free to you every week