Brie Larson made her directorial debut on Netflix with Unicorn Store, a story about a woman in her 20’s suffering from arrested development who must figure out the whole ‘adulting’ thing while maintaining her childish obsession with rainbows and Care Bears and unicorns.
Brie Larson’s character, Kit, fails out of art school and must return to her parent’s house. We instantly get a story about a young woman feeling like an inadequate failure and a burden on her family.
That would have been a super interesting lane to travel. Instead, Kit gets an invitation to the Unicorn Store and the movie changes from a ‘coming of age’ tale to an instructional video on how to acquire a unicorn.
Instead of getting a movie where a young woman has to face her juvenile tendencies and actually grow up, she doubles downs and is rewarded at the end with the unicorn she always wanted as a little girl.
And that would’ve been totally cool had the tone of this movie been consistent throughout.
This movie seems like it was written to star Anna Faris in the mid-2000s between Scary Movie 4 and The House Bunny. Right in Anna’s prime of portraying characters that were blissfully dumb and unaware of the world around her with a heartfelt message at the end.
At one point, Kit asks her love interest, Virgil, if she’s pretty enough to be sexually harrassed at work. That is straight fro a 2003 comedy where a girl must overcome the odds to make it in a male dominated workplace and in the end, she wins them all over with some big presentation (that only a woman could do) and it saves the company. Then she makes out with Ryan Reynolds, probably.
But that would have been a better movie because it would imply that there is some level of character growth. Brie Larson’s character is obsessed with rainbows and unicorns and when she has her big presentation at work, she is given the advice to be herself so she dresses in a ridiculous colorful costume and throws glitter everywhere
Being herself didn’t pay off at all. And not in an ironic funny way.
At one point, Kit has a huge argument with her parents at a family and friends camping trip that ends with her dad pointing out everyone else her age was overcoming some sort of abuse or tragedy while Kit has never gone through anything.
That scene, in particular, isn’t some big ‘ah-ha!’
If anything, that scene is incredibly condescending. ‘You can’t be depressed. There are people who have worse lives than you’ is an irresponsible and foolish way to help someone feel better. It’s dismissive as hell and often times makes a depressed now feel bad about being depressed which ultimately worsens their depression.
Oh, and then she gets the fucking unicorn at the end.
There was no lesson learned. There was nothing about growing up. She didn’t change at all. All she did was take temporary advice from Samuel L Jackson and was rewarded.
Her work life didn’t advance. Her relationship with her parents didn’t really improve. She just got a unicorn for some reason.
And the existence of unicorns is totally fine or whatever but again, the tone wasn’t consistent enough to establish a world in which magic and unicorns exist. It wasn’t absurd enough.
But this is a Netflix movie. All it needs to do is simply exist and it serves it’s purpose. This is a movie you can play on a Saturday afternoon in the background as you vaccuum your floors so for that, Netflix gets another automatic W.
Some quick Unicorn Store positive takeaways:
- Brie Larson and Samuel L Jackson should be contractually obligated to co-star in movies together. We will all look back at the iconic trifecta of Kong Skull Island, Captain Marvel and Unicorn Store.
- This script was blah but Brie Larson can carry any movie on her back.
- Put Joan Cusack in everything.
Atthe end, Brie asks the unicorn if he took the elevator to the top floor. We still need an answer.