KAJILLIONAIRE

KAJILLIONAIRE movie poster
Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) has spent her entire life learning to scam with her con artist parents Robert (Richard Jenkins) and Theresa (Debra Winger). Robbing post office boxes and other low-level illegal efforts highlight their meager existence. With past rent due on their dilapidated office building dwelling, the threesome hit upon a travel insurance scheme. During the trip, they meet the charming Melanie (Gina Rodriguez). Eager to change her lifestyle, she joins the grifters in thieving endeavors. The lives of all involved are affected.

Director/writer Miranda July ("Me and You and Everyone We Know") paints a quirky portrait of human foibles and desires. While too slow going at times, the character-driven plot gets a huge boost from some fine performances. Richard Jenkins, Debra Winger and Gina Rodriguez (TV's "Jane the Virgin") are award-worthy indeed. But it's Evan Rachel Wood who is the main attraction. In a subtle turn, she draws focus to Old Dolio (pay attention to why the parents gave her this name). Wearing baggy clothes and lowering her voice, Wood is rather boyish in appearance and manners. A transformation begins to take place after Melanie enters the picture. At first resentful because mom and dad treat the newcomer like a daughter, she begins to see a future beyond her parents. In a small, yet memorable, role is Mark Ivanir (Netflix's "Away") as Stovik, a man with no emotional filter. He works at the bubble factory next door to the office building where the family lives and collects the cheap rent (only $500 a month if they scrape suds from the factory off the walls each day). There are no laugh-out-loud moments, but humor is present during several situations (earthquakes, plane rides, etc.). Serious scenes occur throughout, including one senior citizen swindle. Details won't be revealed here - even how the title fits in. This is certainly a strange, but strong, relationship film. The unconventional and engaging "Kajillionaire" is right on the money. (3.5/5 CAMS)

Rated R (for some sexual references/language)
Running Time: 106 minutes

In theaters September 25, 2020.

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