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Review: Ethan Coen’s Sluggish Joyride ‘Drive-Away Dolls’

Ethan Coen’s latest film, “Drive-Away Dolls,” has been met with a mixed reception from critics, marking a departure from the acclaimed work he’s known for alongside his brother, Joel Coen. Set against the backdrop of a road trip from Philadelphia to Florida in 1999, the film follows two friends, Jamie and Marian, portrayed by Margaret Qualley and Geraldine Viswanathan, respectively. Their journey takes an unexpected turn when they come into possession of a mysterious briefcase coveted by dangerous individuals.

Despite the initial promise of the premise and Coen’s signature style, “Drive-Away Dolls” falls short of expectations. Critics have noted its sluggish pacing, lackluster humor, and exaggerated performances, which overshadow its attempts to delve into deeper themes. While the film features strong performances from seasoned actors like Pedro Pascal and Bill Camp, it struggles to sustain audience interest with its contrived plot and shallow character development.

Written by Coen and his wife, Tricia Cooke, the film begins with familiar Coen-esque elements, such as neon bar signs and cryptic setups. However, it fails to maintain momentum, leaving viewers yearning for the wit and charm found in the Coen Brothers’ best works. Despite occasional moments of intrigue, “Drive-Away Dolls” ultimately disappoints, lacking the depth and substance that characterize the Coen Brothers’ filmography.

Although the movie touches on themes of gender dynamics and power struggles, it fails to deliver a compelling narrative that resonates with audiences. With its disjointed storytelling and lack of emotional depth, “Drive-Away Dolls” struggles to find its footing, ultimately leaving viewers unsatisfied and longing for the excitement and entertainment expected from a Coen Brothers film.

In conclusion, “Drive-Away Dolls” represents a departure from Ethan Coen’s previous work, failing to capture the magic and allure of his collaborations with Joel Coen. While it showcases moments of potential, the film ultimately falls short of expectations, leaving audiences underwhelmed and craving more.

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