Girlfriend’s Day (2017)
written by: Eric Hoffman, Bob Odenkirk, Philip Zlotorynski
directed by: Michael Stephenson
starring: Bob Odenkirk, Amber Tamblyn, Stacy Keach
tl;dr > Go open up Netflix right now and watch this film. Bob Odenkirk is a god.
Girlfriend’s Day is a quasi-noir about Ray Wentworth (Odenkirk), a damaged man who writes sentiments for greeting cards. The murder of Taft, an industry legend coincides with the new upcoming holiday Girlfriend’s Day. Ray becomes embroiled in the mystery and finds he is a key figure in the goings-on.
As someone who makes greeting cards I admit I am partial to a movie centred around characters in the greeting card industry. It is probably a first. But there are tons of reasons other than its mere existence that make this film worth watching.
- First off is Bob Odenkirk’s Ray Wentworth. Considering Odenkirk’s varied background, he could have played this character any number of ways. He went with sincerity, and the movie is all the better for it. You see how sad Ray is, trying to trudge through what life is throwing at him. And to my delight, one of these things is Andy Richter.
- Andy Richter plays Harold Lamb, a rival in work and love. Ray’s wife left him for Harold, creator of Optimistic Owl greeting cards. Their interactions are a highlight of the film. Bonus: they happen while Ray waits to pick up a cat he has joint custody of with his ex wife.
- Then there are the reformed supremacists who now hate elitists. Their motto is “Nobody better ‘n nobody.” Priceless!
- We see Natashe Lyonne as Tafts’ widow, glammed up and trying to put the moves on Ray soon after her husband’s funeral. She’s made up to look like a bad-news femme fatale, but I saw her character as a lonely card writer groupie who has set her sights on Ray.
So much effort went in to the details in this film. Card writing legend Taft looks like a crazed Orson Welles. The club the writers frequent is called Card-Sharps. Ray watches bum fights to cheer himself up. Jill (Amber Tamblyn) has an ugly purse collection that is to be envied. All of it creates fleshed out characters in a fully realised world that keeps the viewer engaged.
Some of my favourite dialogue comes when Ray visits AAAAA Greetings owner Gundy (Stacy Keach):
Gundy: “Can I offer you a beer?”
Ray: “I’m on medication, so… yeah.”
Gundy displays the first ever greeting card in his house. It was given by Napoleon to his mother after surgery to remove a tumor from her ankle:
Gundy: “It’s French, and it translates in to, ‘Feel better.’ She died two days after receiving it.”
In conclusion (if you haven’t already opened up another browser tab and logged in to Netflix to watch it) Girlfriend’s Day has a completely original premise, black humour aplenty, good pacing and great dialogue delivered by wonderful actors. I admit it is not a horror film, but there is murder and blood and mystery. Bob Odenkirk has hit it out of the park.