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'The Drop' is cringe-comedy that keeps a relaxed pace

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You likely won’t find a description of The Drop without seeing the phrase “cringe comedy.” I get squirmy when there’s even a slight misunderstanding on a sitcom, let alone when something is designed to make me feel uncomfortable. So before the movie even started, this was strike one.

You also won’t find a description that doesn’t tell you exactly what the title refers to, so I may as well spoil that here: Anna Konkle from TV’s Pen15 stars as Lex, who’s trying to conceive a child with her husband. The two are headed to a resort island for the wedding of some friends, and as the entire group is piling into a van at the airport and Lex is holding one friend’s baby, seemingly out of nowhere she drops that baby smack on the pavement. There’s a good crunching sound, but other than that the baby turns out ok, which I’m only telling you so you don’t get too upset right now. But still, I’m not sure there are a lot of people out there who would jump at the chance to watch a comedy about dropping a baby, and if there are, I’m certainly not one of them. So, again, knowing this before the movie even begins, that’s strike two.

But to my delight… there is no strike three. The Drop is funny. Sometimes very funny. And a lot of that has to do with its relaxed pace—a lot of movies like this would play up the shock and zaniness. These things tend to get a little too in your face. And there is plenty of shock, or at least surprise, but director and writer Sarah Adina Smith and her fantastic cast aren’t concerned with telling you very loudly that this is funny, they just let it be funny. Now, even at 92 minutes, it’s too long, maybe way too long, and some of this is because much of the dialogue feels like improvised riffs, whether it is or not. And like any movie with this many jokes, plenty of them don’t hit. But I guess to continue my unnecessary baseball metaphor, if you start out down two strikes and end up with a solid base hit, you’re in pretty great shape.

The Drop is on Hulu January 13th.

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.