The Kitchen trailer

For a film starring two of Hollywood’s most high-profile comedians, there’s not much to laugh at in The Kitchen.

Anyone looking for the physical comedy we’ve come to associate with Melissa McCarthy or the over-the-top antics we often expect from Tiffany Haddish should look elsewhere, because this 1970s mob thriller teams them with Elisabeth Moss and trades jokes for straight-faced, no-nonsense drama. Check out the trailer below.

The Kitchen Trailer

Who’d have pictured this particular trio of actresses in a tough mafia period piece? Answer: Andrea Berloff, the writer of films like Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton, and the Mel Gibson thriller Blood Father. She’s making her feature directorial debut with this film, and it looks like she’s bringing a gritty, pulpy approach to this story. (She also wrote the screenplay.)

Remember Widows, last year’s ensemble crime thriller about a group of mob wives who united to finish a heist their husbands botched? The Kitchen is almost certainly going to earn comparisons to that film because of their similar premises, but The Kitchen is actually based on a Vertigo comic book series written by Ollie Doyle that debuted back in 2015. I came away slightly disappointed with Widows because I thought its set-up was promising but the movie wasn’t overly interested in exploring its characters gaining powerful positions. This film looks to be more curious about that dynamic, as its protagonists claim power and cling to it with an iron grip once they discover they like how it tastes.

I’m on board with the style here, and snappy lines like “Pretty doesn’t matter, it’s just a tool women use” sound like they come out of a hard-boiled crime novel. Plus, I’m a sucker for any movie featuring underrated character actor Bill Camp – he can tap into a sense of menace with the best of ’em. But will audiences take this movie seriously? Moss has been in a couple of comedies, but she has a certain gravitas thanks to her work in serious art films and shows like The Handmaid’s Tale; it’ll be easiest for audiences to buy her in this type of role. But can they set aside the baggage of McCarthy and Haddish’s past performances and allow them to be real actors who play different types of roles, or will crowds reject their hard turn into drama? We’ll find out soon.

The Kitchen is set to arrive in theaters on August 9, 2019.

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