Featuring a great cast and a decent story, Breaking News in Yuba County is a watchable black comedy. It has a vibe of a movie shot some twenty years earlier, especially when it comes to the style of filming. You can feel they were going for that small city crime Coen brothers vibe but the script needed to be much tighter to even get close to the masters. A lot of the jokes fall flat and there’s no tension generated by the characters. However, I must admit that there are also a couple of great gags here that had me in stitches. The mood and tone are too quirky in my opinion. Considering all this, it’s surprising that I still liked it. I think that it’s one of those forgettable late-night snacks that you need to take your mind off things. Plus there are a lot of murders towards the end, which always helps.
If I had to describe Breaking News in Yuba County in a few words it would Desperate Housewives episode with great pacing. Ultimately, the speed at which this average story unfolds is the thing that will keep you going. That and some great performances from Allison Janney, Regina Hall, Awkwafina, and hilarious Wanda Sykes. If they only gave her a bigger role this movie would have been so much better. Writing this, I realized just now that the cast is comprised almost solely of female actors, proving that you can write a movie like this and not be obnoxious.
It’s Sue Buttons’ birthday today and so far, her day wasn’t going so well. First, they fucked up her birthday cake and now her husband just bolted from the house not even saying goodbye. Sue decides to investigate and follows him to the bank and then to a sleazy motel. It seems like her day is about to get a lot worse. Unfolding at the same time is a complex scheme involving a crime syndicate, money laundering, and a lot of money…
I almost forgot to mention Bridget Everett who was phenomenal as Leah. Keong Sim seemed too bland as the head honcho and Clifton Collins Jr. didn’t have anything to work with. The same goes for Ellen Barkin, Juliette Lewis, and Samira Wiley while Mila Kunis sleepwalked through the movie. When you look at this cast you expect a new Little Miss Sunshine or Fargo, but as we already mentioned Breaking News in Yuba County is nothing to write home about. It’s a fun and vibrant retro dark comedy that will take you back to a time when movies like this were abundant. Especially the ones focusing on now almost forgotten television coverage.
If you’re looking for similar movies, I recommend you start with a couple of nineties classics like Happy, Texas, The Ref, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and Red Rock West. And you could continue with more recent comedies like Bernie, Novocaine, Matchstick Men, Scorched, You Kill Me, and Drop Dead Sexy. Enjoy.
Director: Tate Taylor
Writer: Amanda Idoko
Cast: Allison Janney, Regina Hall, Mila Kunis, Awkwafina, Wanda Sykes, Ellen Barkin, Matthew Modine, Jimmi Simpson, Juliette Lewis, Bridget Everett
Fun Facts: The final night of shooting was a race to be completed before the arrival of Tropical Storm Barry and had to be completed 3 nights later.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7737640/