Review: Spin Me Round

Written and directed by Jeff Baena, co-written by lead actress Alison Brie, a woman wins an all-expenses trip to a company’s gorgeous “institute” outside of Florence, and also the chance to meet the restaurant chain’s wealthy and charismatic owner. She finds a different adventure than the one she imagined. Also starring: Lil Rel Howery, Ego Nwodim, Alessandro Nivola, Ben Sinclair, Molly Shannon, Ayden Mayeri, Zach Woods, Tim Heidecker, Debby Ryan, Lauren Weedman and Aubrey Plaza.

Whatever you go into this film expecting, it’s highly unlikely to match the final product because it’s intensely unexpected. However, whether or not you’ll enjoy that unpredictability is debatable, it ultimately will not be for everyone. Although that in itself shouldn’t be totally surprising coming from the filmmaker of Life After Beth, The Little Hours and Horse Girl; easily palatable obscurity is Jeff Baena’s wheelhouse. It’s exactly what you get here, it’s odd and strange but it doesn’t stray widely far from what we know. The story has a hugely random feel to it, throwing together an unusual collection of people with weird personality traits, and the whole set-up feeling like a dream of a reality show. It plays things on the same level for the most part then ramps up the weird factor for its big finale, which is fun but extremely strange and out of left field. On the other hand it does pick a great moment for its final scene, feeling very much a case of bucking the trend for romantically inclined flicks.

A lot of what makes this work despite its bizarre nature is the cast, this is an incredible bunch of actors. Alison Brie can pretty much hit any tone or personality that’s thrown at her and do it with an unending charm and charisma, and she does it again here. They even try to make her fairly bland and she’s still a joy to watch, especially when paired with a chaotic and wild Aubrey Plaza, another actor who can pretty much do no wrong and it’s only a shame she isn’t in the film more. Molly Shannon brings her typical intensity filled with messy potential, similarly with the vulnerability and quintessential crazed eyes of Zach Woods. Ayden Mayeri and Debby Ryan top up the film with some youthful and heavily relaxed vibes, Alessandro Nivola taps into the classic eccentric millionaire and Lauren Weedman brings her beloved sarcasm. Then Ben Sinclair and Tim Heidecker round out the core group waving wildly red, egocentric, creepy flags.

One of the key aspects which feeds into the film’s offbeat feel is that it tips its hat to the 1970s. There’s a sincere throwback atmosphere, simplifying things and while it does have its over the top moments, it mostly sticks to a more understated style. It leans into the oddity of the situation by embracing the mundane and unexciting details, their dingy hotel and overly underwhelming experience. Again, it’s a choice that might not work for everyone and some may be confused by it but it is worth sticking with it.

Spin Me Round boasts an impressive cast while throwing them into a weird, random adventure. It may be overly strange for some but with Alison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and Molly Shannon at the helm, it still has plenty of charm to offer. It has a feel of the 1970s and is entirely unpredictable, with some wild twists to the tale, but it does play to a fairly everyday tone for the most part. It’s an oddity that will be appreciated by those open to it but those looking for a more mainstream affair may be thrown for a loop and struggle to get into it.

Verdict: ✯✯✯ | 6/10

In Theaters, on AMC+ & VOD 19 August

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