With a horribly unlikeable protagonist and a different approach to Thanksgiving, Dan Gregor’s “Most Likely to Murder” is what happens when a child writes a murder mystery for stoners -- and it’s hilarious.
Gregor’s first directorial experience “Most Likely to Murder” is the story of Billy Green’s (Adam Pally) return to his hometown, where he discovers he is no longer the king of Valley Spring. In the home-for-the-holidays comedic mystery, Billy becomes obsessed with proving his neighbor killed his own mother. In going home to chase his former glory, Billy begins to chase down a murder -- at least he thinks he does.
The choice to make the protagonist such an unlikeable, yet empathetic, character is an purposeful choice on part of Gregor because these types of characters are most often antagonists, people the audience is supposed to hate. As Billy stays the same, we are allowed to see the intricacies of other characters in childlike clarity. A jarring contrast to many of film’s most popular titles, Billy fades into the background, while supporting cast takes center stage in order to tell the story.
Through the dynamic created by Gregor, we are allowed to see exactly how directly Billy creates his own problems, doing nothing to solve them, and repeating these patterns throughout the film. Billy’s a jerk and he’s always going to be a jerk, bemoaning the changes everyone but him are undergoing as they mature. We all know a Billy.
Putting a creative twist on the home-for-the-holidays film, Gregor has chosen an odd holiday in Thanksgiving. The holiday is seldom referenced in this genre and represents a wealth of creativity which has been seized by the film’s writing team. The mysterious scenario which is brought to light by Pally’s Billy is as frightening as it is hilarious once the truth comes out, and the benign tone of Thanksgiving provides a delicious contrast to the horror Billy witnesses. This clash of tones, as opposed to creating a sense of awkwardness, draws laughter from the audience.
Promising a laugh and a half, “Most Likely to Murder” is worth watching, whether you relate to Billy or his friends and family. Although you may find Billy raunchy and distasteful, the reactions of his friends and family to his idiocy are hilarious enough to warrant witness to his bad decisions.
“Most Likely to Murder”
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Score: 4 / 5 stars