“Quiz Lady,” directed by Jessica Yu and penned by Jen D’Angelo, takes audiences on a wild ride reminiscent of ’90s buddy comedies like Penelope Spheeris’ “Black Sheep.” The film, a delightful mix of wacky sight gags, snappy one-liners, and heartfelt family drama, might occasionally struggle to balance its zany humor and emotional depth. Still, it manages to captivate viewers, largely due to the irresistible charm of Sandra Oh, who shines in the lead role.
Quiz Lady: There Has To Be Another Way
Meet Anne (Awkwafina), a thirtysomething accountant donning beige attire and carrying the weight of her past. Anne finds solace in the nightly quiz show “Can’t Stop The Quiz,” akin to “Jeopardy!,” ever since her father’s disappearance when she was just four years old. Her only constants in life are her loyal, obese pug, Linguini, and the calming presence of the show’s host, Terry McTeer (played by Will Ferrell, channeling a blend of Alex Trebek and Mister Rogers). Anne’s routine is disrupted when her flighty, estranged sister Jenny (Oh) reappears, dressed to the nines, after a misunderstanding about their mother’s whereabouts.
Jenny’s return sets off a chain of events, leading the sisters to confront their mother’s gambling debts. A viral video of Anne acing quiz answers propels them into a madcap adventure. From a road trip to Philadelphia, encountering a quirky Ben Franklin-themed inn, to facing off against menacing bookies and smug quiz contestants, the film is a rollercoaster of hilarious mishaps.
Throughout the chaos, Oh and Awkwafina create a compelling dynamic, unraveling shared childhood traumas and memories. Despite Awkwafina’s occasionally muted performance, Oh’s portrayal of Jenny as a lovable mess steals the show. The script cleverly unveils the sisters’ past through well-timed flashbacks, revealing their complex relationship.
While the film’s slapstick moments bring laughter, its true brilliance shines in the poignant moments of sisterly love. Ferrell’s nuanced performance as the quiz show host adds depth, offering heartfelt advice that resonates beyond the screen. His character’s wisdom becomes a guiding light for Anne, emphasizing the importance of cherished memories over mere victories.
“Quiz Lady” premiered exclusively on Hulu on November 3rd, and it’s a heartwarming journey filled with laughter, love, and the enduring bond between siblings.