‘Don’t Worry Darling’ overview: Florence Pugh is not sufficient to redeem Olivia Wilde’s tabloid-friendly second film
Owing a non secular debt to “The Stepford Wives” with its rigorously manicured picture of suburbia, there are many newer factors of comparability as effectively, such because the George Clooney-directed “Suburbicon.” There’s even a dollop of “Edward Scissorhands” within the pastel imaginative and prescient of an ideal cul de sac the place the menfolk drive single file to work whereas their wives dutifully wave goodbye.
Alice (Pugh) and her husband Jack (Harry Styles) seem like dwelling the dream, partying onerous together with his coworkers within the Nineteen Fifties-style deliberate neighborhood the place all of them stay. The two are insanely scorching for one another, nearly sickeningly so to listen to Alice’s pal Bunny (performed by Wilde) inform it.
Looking nearer, although, all of it appears a bit of too good, and thus suspicious, starting with the truth that no person will clarify what precisely it’s they do working for one thing referred to as the Victory Project. There’s additionally a cult-like devotion to the boss, Frank (Chris Pine, like Pugh, a reduce above the fabric), who will get his fees to enthusiastically embrace that they are “altering the world.”
If the objective is a type of happy-talk conformity, that offers approach to what resembles gaslighting when Alice begins to sense that one thing’s unsuitable, fueled by unusual goals, surreal photographs and the habits of a neighbor.
Based on a script credited to Shane and Carey Van Dyke (Dick Van Dyke’s grandsons) together with “Booksmart’s” Katie Silberman, “Don’t Worry Darling” stumbles into the artistic entice of following the mannequin of a “The Twilight Zone” episode, simply with out the form of revelation that might elevate it into that collection’ extra memorable tier. While the movie has one thing to say about gender politics and misogyny, it isn’t articulated effectively sufficient to tell apart itself from any variety of different motion pictures.
After Wilde’s spectacular debut, there’s invariably anticipation to see if a filmmaker can pull off one other success. By that measure “Don’t Worry Darling” feels extra like a modest setback than a significant disappointment, however in the end, it is onerous to name this undertaking as a victory.
“Don’t Worry Darling” premieres in US theaters on September 23. It’s rated R. The movie is distributed by Warner Bros. Studios, which like USA Prime Time is a part of Warner Bros. Discovery.