The Stand In

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Drew Barrymore in The Stand In.
Drew Barrymore in The Stand In.
Screengrab: YouTube/Saban Films


The Stand-In


DStv Box Office


1/5 Stars


A stand-in takes over an actress' career and identity after performing her community service for tax evasion.


I love Drew Barrymore, but I did not love this Drew Barrymore film.

The talented actor plays a pair of characters with polar-opposite existences who are both whiny, selfish, and unpleasant. Candy Black is a megastar who wants out after a drug and alcohol-induced meltdown on set wins her a court-appointed stint in rehab. Paula is Candy's wannabe, who manages to convince Candy to let her 'stand-in' on what is called a 'Public Apology Tour' five years after going viral for being a loose cannon. What should follow is a well-delivered Hollywood send-up with something to say on female rivalry and the cost of stardom. However, what does follow is a sour storyline and drab dialogue.

As I mentioned above, I love Drew Barrymore, and I've always enjoyed her work. From Charlie's Angels to making even Adam Sandler look good – I've always been on board. But not even two of her could make me want to watch this film again. As Paula, she is weighted with an ugly prosthetic nose, grassy hair, and an earache-inducing voice. As Candy, the only thing that changes is the lack of a prosthetic nose. I found myself shocked that this isn't a Happy Madison film and that Adam Sandler had nothing to do with it.

If Drew Barrymore wasn't enough of a draw, who wouldn't want to see a film that includes talents like Holland Taylor, Ellie Kemper, and Michelle Buteau in amusing supporting roles? Sadly, the script gives them nothing to work with. It ends up being scattered with bad words intended to provide the film with an edge when all it did was fail to disguise the absence of wit or imagination.

There are also too many unnecessary cameos from real-life television personalities like Jimmy Fallon, Giuliana Rancic, Meghan McCain, Kelly Ripa, and Ryan Seacrest, who talk to Paula-as-Candy in her public apology tour.

The premise of this flop is excellent. It aimed to dissect fan entitlement, class divergence, and the film industry's supposed shallowness from what I can tell. Still, The Stand In just couldn't figure out how to examine its weighty themes. Like checking if spaghetti is cooked, it felt like writer Sam Bain threw a bunch of generic ideas and unfunny one-liners at the wall to see what would stick.

Spoiler alert, but not really, the movie ends with both Candy and Paula getting what they wanted. But instead of basking in either of their happy endings, I found myself rooting for it all to just end. The Stand In had so much opportunity to explore the fakeness of Hollywood but ended up feeling like a wasted idea with an identity crisis.


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