Can You Ever Forgive Me? 2.0 stars

Can You Ever Forgive Me? movie poster

Melissa McCarthy’s bid for dramatic cred is just nasty enough to be enjoyable, thanks hugely to Richard E. Grant’s gleeful turn as a dimwitted but high-spirited end-of-the-line party boy who befriends our heroine just as she touches bottom. (Financially speaking, anyway; she’s still got a ways to go morally.) McCarthy plays Lee Israel, a failed biographer who insists on writing about Fanny Brice even though nobody cares about Fanny Brice. Well, that’s not quite true. Someone cares enough to pay for a personal (though typewritten) letter from the once-famous comedienne, because it turns out that celebrity knick-knacks are the modern saints’ relics. Some of the glamour may linger, and the faithful are only too willing to believe and buy — especially after Israel juices the missive with a snappy PS. She quickly turns suckering the literati into a cottage industry, marshalling Grant and an army of vintage typewriters to her cause. Oh, how the film would have benefitted from some illustration of how she found all those typewriters, one for each impersonated author. Instead, it spends too much time trying to humanize Israel via her relationships with a sweet bookseller, a former lover, and her cat. (How else will we know that McCarthy is a serious actress?) As it is, it benefits from cinematographer Brandon Trost’s grey-brown depiction of New York City, and director Marielle Heller’s (Diary of a Teenage Girl) matter-of-fact tone. 2018.

Matthew Lickona

Showtimes

Angelika Film Center & Café

11620 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego, 858-207-2606 | Directions

Tuesday, November 20

2:45pm, 5:10pm, 7:40pm, 10:15pm

ArcLight La Jolla

4425 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite H60, San Diego, 858-768-7770 | Directions

Tuesday, November 20

3:00pm

Edwards Mira Mesa

10733 Westview Parkway, San Diego, 858-635-7716 | Directions

Tuesday, November 20

4:05pm, 6:45pm, 9:30pm

Wednesday, November 21

4:35pm

Thursday, November 22

4:35pm

Landmark Hillcrest

3965 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, 619-298-2904 | Directions

Tuesday, November 20

4:30pm, 7:25pm, 9:55pm

Wednesday, November 21

1:35pm, 4:30pm, 7:25pm, 9:55pm

Thursday, November 22

10:50am, 1:35pm, 4:30pm, 7:25pm, 9:55pm

Reading Cinemas Town Square

4665 Clairemont Drive, San Diego, 858-274-9994 | Directions

Tuesday, November 20

3:00pm, 5:25pm

Regal Parkway Plaza

405 Parkway Plaza, El Cajon, 619-401-3456 | Directions

Tuesday, November 20

4:30pm, 7:15pm

Wednesday, November 21

4:30pm, 10:15pm

Thursday, November 22

4:30pm, 10:15pm

Regal San Marcos

1180 W. San Marcos Boulevard, San Marcos, 760-471-3734 | Directions

Tuesday, November 20

3:15pm, 6:10pm, 9:10pm

Wednesday, November 21

12:25pm, 3:15pm, 6:10pm, 9:10pm

Thursday, November 22

12:25pm, 3:15pm, 6:10pm, 9:10pm

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