The Wrong Missy is based on an assumption that is deeply, fundamentally flawed: that one inherently empathizes with David Spade. Given no reason at all, the film asks that we root for him to get a promotion of an explicitly more-qualified woman (that she’s nicknamed “The Barracuda” is meant to degrade her but just comes across as dated sexism); to get over his unusually attractive ex; to date a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model; to find true love in a woman two decades his junior. Not because he’s funny, or charming, or nice, or sympathetic in any way (he’s a high-level employee at a credit company, for fuck’s sake), but simply because he’s there, front and center, and you may remember him from Tommy Boy. People talk about the overconfidence of the mediocre white man, and this is it epitomized in a vanity project that should leave Spade as embarrassed as its audience.
Produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production shingle, the film is Sandler by algorithm. It’s all the familiar elements of the modern Sandler oeuvre—successful straight man frustrated with obnoxious woman, a studio-footed vacation, disproportionately attractive romantic interest, hammy parts for Rob Schneider and Nick Swardson, plenty of opportunities to wear shorts—reassembled into a perfunctory, boilerplate comedy that runs exactly 90 minutes. Netflix ordered a Happy Madison David Spade vehicle, and they got what they for some reason paid for to the letter.
Mercifully, The Wrong Missy doesn’t waste any time getting started. It doesn’t waste any time at all, for that matter. Whatever wasn’t a plot point was left on the cutting room floor. (Editing is particularly apparent in comedian Bobby Lee appearing for a single scene to say two completely transactional lines.) This is all meat, and that meat is boiled cocktail wiener.
The film opens with Tim Morris (Spade) already at a restaurant and searching for a blind date his grandma set up, conveniently excusing why he doesn’t know anything about the date at all. He and date Melissa, aka Missy, meet up, and guess what. She is annoying! Tim Morris does not enjoy this date!
Missy quickly lampshades Spade’s hair, calling it a wig, but it really needs to be addressed further. In a pinned tweet, Spade himself even said the film is “why [he doesn’t] shave and die(sic) [his] hair brown,” which is saying a lot, because Spade already has dumb hair on the daily. Too-evenly colored and always perfectly styled into these goofy, swept bangs, it’s a ridiculous, Trumpian sight that is so distracting from minute one to the credits, you’d think it would be used for more than just the same wig joke twice.
Anyway, next scene, we’re on to major plot point #2: Tim is up for The Big Promotion—but so is the aforementioned Barracuda! A scene later and we’re on to #3: Tim missing a flight and having a meet-cute with a beautiful woman coincidentally named Melissa. They bond over their love for Phil Collins, The Affair, and author James Patterson, and it’s apparent that Tim’s ideal mate is another generic 55-year-old man like himself. Because David Spade is outrageously sexy, Melissa is overcome with desire for him and they nearly fuck in a janitor’s closet before she has to go.
A scene later, Tim relates this anecdote to his work pal Nate (Swardson), who suggests he invite Melissa to the company’s Hawaiian vacation work retreat. That would be wildly overstepping social boundaries and freak any woman out, but they text her anyway, and she accepts, because she wants to be murdered..
Immediately we’re on the plane. None of Tim’s coworkers are on the flight with him, which doesn’t make any sense, but neither does much of this insanely extravagant corporate vacation that later involves an adult talent show, so may as well let that go. Who’s on the plane instead? Missy. It seems Tim has invited—here it comes!—the wrong Missy.
Tim’s ex-fiancée (Sarah Chalke), who he’s still hung up on, is now dating one of his coworkers and is thusly also on the retreat. This has next to no bearing on anything outside of a revolting, wildly indulgent threesome scene. Someone just spilled some Forgetting Sarah Marshall in this foul Happy Madison cocktail, shrugged, and served it anyway.
Now that we’re set up on rails within 20 minutes, this thing runs on autopilot for the remainder. We all know where it’s going; the only question is how it gets there. So it’s an issue that The Wrong Missy is a film so poorly thought out that no one bothered to figure out how to get there. Like all of Tim’s coworkers who weren’t on his flight, they’re suddenly just there.
Why is Missy immediately infatuated with this bland, joyless little man and his doofus coif? She just is. Why does Tim fall in love with this insufferable person? Because she arbitrarily starts acting fairly normal an hour in. How does Tim inevitably score the promotion? Missy hypnotizes his boss between scenes, you complete fool.
But the most woefully unearned aspect of the whole thing may be Lapkus’s performance. She goes for broke to play Missy as big and exasperating as possible, and this is a movie does not deserve anyone trying at all.
On the flight to Hawaii, Missy generously gives Tim dozing a handjob. He seems at best put out by her effort, nonetheless finishes, then, ashamed, apologizes to those who watched. That about sums it up, Dave.
The Wrong Missy
Director: Tyler Spindel
Runtime: 90 minutes
Cast: David Spade, Lauren Lapkus, Nick Swardson, Geoff Pierson, Jackie Sandler