‘The Drop’ starts off like a mumblecore film. You sense a carefree couple having a low-stakes, breezy, mundane conversation at their residence. There is no sense of imminent danger looming over them. They rather seem like a picture-perfect couple to us. Soon after, this Sarah Adina Smith directorial veers into a terrain of awkward interactions without leaning completely into it right away. We are introduced to it through a conversation where a response seems difficult to register as normal. The cringe comedy starts opening up to you, and while taking its time, it starts to unsettle you with different sorts of character realizations.

Through the narrative, we meet Lex (Pen15’s Anna Konkle) and Mani (Jermaine Fowler) going to a tropical island for a friend’s destination wedding. While running their artisanal dream bakery in Los Angeles, they are a happily married couple, at least on the surface. On the trip, they are joined by an old group of friends. Shauna (The Black Lady Sketch Show’s Robin Thede) is an Emmy-award-winning actor who loves sharing how proud she is about her acting performances and accomplishments. Her husband, Robbie (Utkarsh Ambudkar), is a pseudo-spiritual man and is just as narcissistic as his wife.

Their son Levi (Elisha Henig) navigates his life in puberty while being heavily exposed to the online culture of incels. His parents do not control his sexual urges and consider allowing unconditional freedom in his exploration as a better method for his growth. The about-to-be-married couple joins them on the flight – Mia (Aparna Nancherla) and her partner Peggy (Jennifer Lafleur). While Mia is terrified due to the concerns of safety (which also makes her purchase a gun), Peggy is an over-protective gynecologist. You already sense a political dissonance among them lurking under the surface.

These three couples head to a place a white couple, Lindsey (Jillian Bell) and Josh (Jillian Leonard), are struggling to afford a living and also struggle to mask their failure under the pretense of promoting a gadget-less green living. There is a hint of awkwardness throughout their initial conversations, probably due to meeting after a while. However, the underlying discomfort starts getting forthrightly exposed only after a pivotal incident from their trip, which makes them rethink and introspect on an important factor in their 30-something lives – parental responsibility.

The Drop (2023) Movie Review

Only after getting hold of a baby in her hand does Lex realize the gravity of her fear of having a child and ends up in an embarrassing situation that paints the picture of the entire trip in a gloomy light. While the baby is fine, she is devastated not just by the momentary guilt but by the implications of this incident on her life. Why did she actually drop the baby? Is it indicative of a bigger issue? And more importantly, is she ready to take responsibility for one of their own?

With a hit-and-miss manner, the cringe interactions from The Drop keep oscillating between amusing and embarrassing. While some of the jokes land well, others feel insufficiently developed to induce a burst of strong laughter. The subtext is no mystery. From one parent believing in theories of a serial killer always being right around the corner to the other paying inadequate attention to their kid’s harmful tendencies, there is a ripe ground for White Lotus-style biting satire. All of these characters are trying to map out their lives, with or without kids, with or without the comforts of their carefree twenties.

Not just the writing, it also has actors capable of bringing out the humor from the skewed aspects of their characters. Be it comedically or dramatically; Anna Konkle is the most consistent performer who excels in bringing the pathos of Lex with humor through her mishaps. Jermaine Fowler is charming as her partner, who struggles to find a balance in making her and himself happy. Robin Thede always exhibits the wildest range she can, and Utkarsh Ambudkar makes you justifyingly infuriated at his preacher-like persona.

Despite that, the film fails at the film’s attempts at humor for the most part. You sense horrible people interacting terribly with each other, and the cringe factor of such interactions cannot make you laugh after a point. The script is certainly smart in bringing several anxieties related to childbirth and placing them among its diverse set of characters. There are sudden emotional irruptions or strange behavior exhibited by these seemingly civil characters that are supposed to be moments of smart comedy. Yet the over-improvised and under-edited nature of the film makes the overall impact more tedious. You find it impossible to laugh after a point when the humor becomes repetitive or just plain irritating.

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The Drop (2023) Movie Trailer

The Drop (2023) Movie Links: IMDb Rotten Tomatoes
The Drop (2023) Movie Cast: Anna Konkle, Jermaine Fowler, Robin Thede, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Elisha Henig
Where to watch The Drop

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