Friday 23 February 2024

REVIEW: Drive-Away Dolls (2024 Film) Starring Margaret Qualley and Beanie Feldstein

By Jon Donnis
Set in the dying days of 1999, "Drive-Away Dolls" kicks off with a gripping scene in a Philadelphia bar, where Santos, played by Pedro Pascal, finds himself in a deadly confrontation that sets the tone for the chaotic journey ahead (sadly for Pedro Pascal fans, he is hardly in the film). The story pivots to Jamie (Margaret Qualley) and Sukie (Beanie Feldstein), whose tumultuous relationship sends Jamie on a spontaneous road trip with her friend Marian (Geraldine Viswanathan). Little do they know, they've unwittingly embarked on a perilous adventure involving mistaken identities, criminal dealings, and a peculiar cargo, culminating in a bizarre showdown with a corrupt senator.

"Drive-Away Dolls" promises an uproarious blend of comedy, suspense, and political satire, but ultimately falls short of its potential. While the premise is undeniably intriguing, director Ethan Coen fails to capitalize on its inherent absurdity, resulting in a film that feels underwhelming and derivative.

The film's strongest asset is its ensemble cast, led by the charismatic Margaret Qualley and the endearing Geraldine Viswanathan. Their chemistry drives much of the narrative, as their characters navigate a series of increasingly bizarre and perilous situations. Pedro Pascal delivers a memorable performance as the enigmatic Santos, but sadly his onscreen time is limited.

However, despite the talent on display, "Drive-Away Dolls" struggles to find its comedic footing. The humour often feels forced and predictable, relying too heavily on tired tropes and cheap gags. Moments of genuine wit and absurdity are few and far between, leaving audiences longing for the irreverent charm that defined Coen's earlier works.

Moreover, the film's narrative feels disjointed and hastily assembled, with subplots that fail to coalesce into a cohesive whole. While the central premise holds promise, it's overshadowed by meandering digressions and underdeveloped characters. The climactic showdown with Senator Channel (Matt Damon) feels anticlimactic and rushed, robbing the film of the cathartic payoff it desperately needs.

In summary, "Drive-Away Dolls" is a missed opportunity. While it boasts a talented cast and an intriguing premise, it ultimately fails to deliver on its comedic potential. With its lackluster humor and disjointed narrative, the film falls short of the mark, leaving audiences with a sense of disappointment rather than satisfaction.

I score Drive-Away Dolls a disappointing 5 out of 10.

Out now on digital at