The Thomas Vincent-directed action comedy Role Play offers a similar but gender-swapped premise as 1994’s True Lies. However, in this version of the suburban-parent-with-a-secret-life trope, the protagonist is a highly skilled contract killer. While the movie premise is fun enough, and the all-star cast does a brilliant comedic job, the overall feature suffers from lacklustre writing and overbearing melodrama.
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Role Play review
Emma (Kaley Cuoco) and Dave Brackett (David Oyelowo) are a happily married couple raising two beautiful kids in New Jersey’s suburbs. After Emma forgets their seventh wedding anniversary, the two decide to take their celebration to the next level by role-playing as strangers in a swanky New York hotel.
What was supposed to be a fun night for the couple to “spice” their romantic lives turns dangerous when Emma is approached by a strange older man named Bob (played by Bill Nighy, who does not get enough screen time in this) at the hotel bar.
It would be easy to assume Bob is just a lonely old businessman trying his luck with a younger lady at a hotel bar. However, Bob is a contract killer who recognizes Emma as another paid assassin who happens to have quite a bounty on her head. Emma’s former employer, Gwen (Connie Nielsen), has placed the said bounty on her former mentee.
When the older killer tries blackmailing Emma, she makes sure to silence him for good. Unfortunately, Bob’s death attracts unwanted attention from the police. While Emma travels to Europe to meet with her handler, Raj (Rudi Dharmalingam), poor Dave must come to terms with the truth about his wife – She’s a very dangerous killer who has been lying to him for the entirety of their marriage.
A good start before fizzling out
Role Play starts interestingly enough. There’s a contract killer accidentally spotted during what was supposed to be a romantic night out with her husband. Bill Nighy is excellent at playing the Bob character as a seemingly creepy old man who’s, in fact, a danger to our leads. After the hotel scenes, the movie seems to fizzle out and lose that fun momentum.
It’s hard to say where it went wrong. There’s simply not enough material in the writing to keep the narrative engaging. The characters aren’t compelling, and the scenes meant to add emotional weight come off as either laughable or too melodramatic.
The movie also made the strange decision to repeat certain scenes after revealing “twists.” Unfortunately, none of those came as a surprise, so having to rewatch the same scene twice felt redundant.
Cuoco and Oyelowo have great comedic timing, which is all too evident in this feature. For example, one of the funniest scenes in the entire movie is when Emma tries explaining that she didn’t know how else to earn her keep aside from killing when an exasperated Dave shouts out, “Take a class!”
Despite the few rare glimpses of brilliance and the two talented lead actors, the movie is quite boring, and it never feels like the protagonist is ever in any danger. Role Play is forgettable and below-average, but it would still be worth putting on as background noise while doing other things around your house.
Where can you watch Role Play in the UAE and Saudi Arabia?
Role Play is now streaming on Prime Video in the Middle East. Amazon Prime Video is included in your Amazon Prime membership, costing AED 16 per month or AED 140 per year. Besides the streaming service, you will also get free deliveries and access to Prime Gaming- click here for a free 30-day trial.