Queenpins: Film Review

STX Films

I was aware that extreme couponing was a thing and even a reality TV show but had never really given the practice much attention so I was fascinated to learn all about it in the throwaway comedy Queenpins.

Inspired by a true story, the film stars Kristen Bell as Connie Kaminski, a former Olympic speed walker and bored, frustrated and miserable housewife who has become obsessed with couponing and stocking up her spare room to distract her from her expensive fertility struggles and her nonexistent marriage to Rick (Joel McHale). One day, she fires off a complaint about her cereal and receives a coupon for a free box and she gets an idea to set up a scheme in which she sells fake free coupons to customers. She and her neighbour JoJo (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) – a vlogger with entrepreneurial dreams – eventually end up running a multi-million dollar counterfeit coupon ring and it soon gets noticed by a supermarket chain’s Loss Prevention Officer, Ken (Paul Walter Hauser), who teams up with U.S. Postal Inspector Simon (Vince Vaughn) to shut the scam down.

This tells a crazy, unbelievable story and I couldn’t wait to see how it unravelled. While I’m sure it takes some liberties with the truth, I still couldn’t believe Connie and JoJo got away with their scheme for so long, especially considering they don’t know how to conduct dirty business and make some ill-advised purchases. Their learning curve was the most entertaining element of the film.

While I enjoyed the coupon caper, I do wish it had been much funnier, especially given the cast involved. It should have been a laugh a minute with this ridiculous scam and Bell, McHale and Vaughn in the mix but it’s very light on the effective jokes. It tries to be funny constantly but the attempts rarely land and that’s due to a combination of weak writing and the actors not being on their comedy A-game.

I thought Bell was a good choice as the sympathetic but quietly cunning Connie. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her and I really wanted her to find some other way to fulfil her life. She is balanced out well by Howell-Baptiste as the upbeat and chatty JoJo. Walter Hauser and Vaughn make a good buddy cop pairing – they should have been so funny together so it sucks their scenes didn’t deliver many laughs. McHale has a one-note small role as the douchey husband, and there is a small appearance from singer Bebe Rexha, who was ace as the mysterious tech hacker Tempe Tina. She was my favourite and I wanted to see her more.

Queenpins is lightweight and forgettable stuff but I must admit that I found it really entertaining.

On Amazon Prime Video from Friday 26th November

Rating: 3 out of 5.