Girl Most Likely (PG-13) (103 min.) – Don't let Kristen Wiig's name above the title fool you. Girl Most Likely isn't funny, although it strains mightily to be a comedy. This is a movie feeling patently false from first frame to last, with characters too wacky to achieve even whiffs of credibility, which is what this kind of relationship comedy situation needs.
It is difficult to imagine any of these people sharing the connections Michelle Morgan's screenplay shoves them into. Or that after the overly manufactured angst she puts them through that a happy ending is possible or even deserved. If the first 90 minutes of Girl Most Likely grate and disappoint, wait until the final 10 or so, when directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini try covering their maniacally depressive tracks like cats in a litter box.
Wiig plays Imogene Duncan, formerly a promising playwright, now a desperate mess dumped by her boyfriend, landlord and job. Staging a fake suicide for sympathy works too well, landing Imogene in an overcrowded hospital. She's released to the custody of her compulsive mother Zelda (Annette Bening, channeling Shirley MacLaine). Zelda has a grungy live-in lover (Matt Dillon) claiming to be a CIA agent, a boarder (Glee's Darren Criss) renting Imogene's room, and socially stunted son Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald) with a hermit crab fixation. That's a lot of crazy for one household and this movie.
Spinning its wheels deeper into emotional muck, Girl Most Likely hinges the fact that on Zelda lied when she told Imogene and Ralph their father died when they were young. That inspires Imogene to find him, understand his decision to desert them, and start anew. There are snobby frenemies and an improbable romance for Imogene to deal with, Ralph's invention of a protective crab-like shell for humans and Zelda's hysterics, none coalescing into a plot per se. D
Girl Most Likely opens Friday at Veterans 24 in Tampa, Woodlands 20 in Oldsmar and BayWalk 20 in St. Petersburg.
Steve Persall, Times movie critic