Am I OK? review — Yep, you’re pretty good

Directed by Stephanie Allynne and Tig Notaro | Written by Lauren Pomerantz | 86 min | ▲▲▲△△ | Crave

Dakota Johnson has the oddest cinematic presence. It’s deeply California, deeply laid back, deeply showbiz — she’s the daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffiths, doncha know. But she can carry a role and deliver genuine feeling — check out The Lost Daughter or A Bigger Splash.

This movie’s been marketed as a charming coming-out story, where emotionally arrested Los Angeleno spa-administrator- cum-painter, Lucy, played by Johnson, discovers she likes ladies, but the key relationship is between Lucy and her best friend, Jane, played by frequent Alex Garland starrer, Sonoya Mizuno. This is a light comedy about besties and their rough patch.

Lucy has never much dated or even had a whole lot of sex with men. When her pal Ben (Whitmer Thomas) makes a move, she’s definitely not interested. She’s stuck, and Jane is determined to help. Jane’s a bit controlling, but she’s a whole lot more effective in her life — she’s a marketing creative who’s been asked by her boss (a very funny Sean Hayes) to open an office in London with her wacky friend and co-worker, Kat (Booksmart veteran Molly Gordon), and is planning on dragging her boyfriend, Danny (Jermaine Fowler) with her. In the meantime she’ll try to get Lucy to come out, taking her to the lesbian club and urging her to date Brittany (Kiersey Clemons), a massage therapist at her work.

There’s a schism between the laid-back Johnson and her character — Lucy tends to cry a lot but doesn’t quite deliver the anxiety required of her. I couldn’t help but think about how Jennifer Westfeldt was so on point as the lead of Kissing Jessica Stein, a movie that shares some thematic overlap with this one. Still, Johnson and Mizuno have a zippy chemistry and together bring a the script’s sparkly dialogue to life, which might be the best reason to see the film — their scenes together easily convince as longtime friends who, despite their differences, really need each other.

An implausible falling out scene and a bunch of third act drama that never quite rings true means Am I OK? doesn’t come close to sticking the landing — though a “hammock sanctuary” scene just about makes up for it — but those problems don’t spoil the overall good time that top-tier comedian Notaro and her partner, Allynne, are able to conjure with their breezy picture.

About the author

flawintheiris

Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.

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