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Originally published July 18, 2013 at 12:59 PM | Page modified July 18, 2013 at 1:15 PM

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‘Girl Most Likely’: Kristen Wiig returns in a too-familiar comedy

A review of “Girl Most Likely,” a quirky-family comedy that’s not quite funny enough, despite game performances by Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie Review 2 stars

‘Girl Most Likely,’ with Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Darren Criss, Christopher Fitzgerald, Nathan Corddry. Directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, from a screenplay by Michelle Morgan. 103 minutes. Rated PG-13 for sexual content and language. Several theaters.

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After the success of the 2011 comedy “Bridesmaids,” it seemed certain that Kristen Wiig, that master of the knowing mumble, would soon be handed another star vehicle. It’s odd, though, that the vehicle would be as slight as “Girl Most Likely,” a comedy about a failed playwright named Imogene (Wiig), who after a suicide attempt must move back home to New Jersey with her eccentric mom, Zelda (Annette Bening). It’s a character not unlike the one Wiig played in “Bridesmaids” (a failed business owner who moves back in with her mother), and it’s a story we’ve seen countless times before, in which a zany family, after some setbacks, learns how to get along.

And, unfortunately, it’s just not funny enough, despite Wiig’s game eye-rolling, Bening’s sparkly nuttiness (Zelda always seems a little drunk, even when she isn’t) and Matt Dillon showing up as a character named “George Bousch,” the pronunciation of which Dillon makes into the movie’s comic highlight. A sweet bond emerges between Imogene and her oddball brother (Christopher Fitzgerald), and there’s something undeniably poignant about Imogene wearing her castoff clothes from when she last lived at home nearly two decades ago; it’s as if she’s trying to disappear into a former self. But “Girl Most Likely” feels like a collection of familiar characters and moments, rather than a fresh story. You miss Bening’s wild-eyed Zelda whenever she totters off-screen; it seems like she’s going somewhere more interesting.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

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