From Oscar winner Jessica Yu comes a comedy starring Awkwafina and Sandra Oh as two very different sisters who are forced to pay off their mother’s gambling debts by concocting a scheme to go on a quiz show.
There’s been little constancy in the personal life of quiet, cardigan-clad Anne (Awkwafina). Her mother left long ago on an extended casino tour, and her volatile, wayward sister Jenny (Sandra Oh) decamped to pursue her entrepreneurial ambitions. The stability in Anne’s muted life is provided by two things: her overweight pug, and a daily television program called Quiz Show. She never misses it, and this unwavering dedication means that she’s a true trivia expert, something that even she admits has no practical value whatsoever.
Until one day, that is, when a telephone call comes revealing that Anne’s mother has absconded on a large gambling debt to an unsavoury group of lenders, and they want their money back. The unexpected return of Jenny adds a further chaotic element to the situation. When Anne’s beloved dog is kidnapped, the sisters set out on a cross-country road trip to get the cash owed the only way they know how: by turning Anne into a game-show champion.
Director Jessica Yu (Ping Pong Playa, TIFF ’07) makes the most of two very talented actors playing against type, with all the exuberant energy that brings to the screen. The stellar cast is rounded out by Will Ferrell as a modest television host, Jason Schwartzman as an egotistical trivia champion, and Holland Taylor as Anne’s dowdy, cranky neighbour. While their witty and comical encounters highlight the differences between the sisters on a large canvas, ultimately it’s a warm story about two oddballs learning to love each other again.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: violence