Black Widows

We all know someone who seems to have terrible luck with relationships. In Black Widows, that’s Darcy (Jordan Elizabeth). She’s naturally trusting, the men she meets are all jerks, and given those two problems her friends have decided to stage an intervention. Nora (Brigitte Graham) is the pushy but protective older sister type, while Olivia (Shelby Kocee) is, in Darcy’s words, the matriarch of the group. Of course, neither one is really qualified to stage a relationship intervention, given that their own love lives are a mess, but they mean well.

Olivia, you see, is in the midst of a tense divorce from the physically and verbally abusive Adam (Casey Sullivan). Restraining orders were involved. And Nora is having troubles with boyfriend Ryan (Aleksandar Popovic), who is less physical about his abuse but is no less of a creep. He loves reminding Nora that he’s paying for everything since she has trouble holding down a job and at one point tells her flat out that she looks cheap.

In the midst of all this, Darcy lets herself get talked into trying an online dating site, where she meets Blair (Jake Brown). I don’t know if I could date a guy named Blair. I’d keep thinking of The Blair Witch Project. Anyway, he turns out to be the worst disaster of all for Darcy, and when her friends find out what he did to her, they plan their revenge.

The idea is to get him passing-out drunk, drive him outside the city, and dump him somewhere without money or clothes so he has to hitchhike back naked. It’s harsh, yes, but he kinda deserves it. The problem is that there are about 3,000 ways this could go horribly wrong, and fate picks out one of the most drastic, leaving our three heroes to cope with the fallout.

Despite how crazy things get — and they get pretty crazy, believe me — the three of them never get as panicky as you’d expect. They’re never as freaked out as I would be, at least. But maybe it’s because they’re such a team, they always know they’re never alone, and together they can face anything. Either that or they’ve all fallen into some sort of shared psychosis. Maybe both.

Their plans do get more and more implausible, but you don’t notice that much while you’re watching, mainly because the camaraderie among the main characters is fantastic. They snipe at each other almost constantly, the sarcasm is thick on the ground, but in the end they have a bond that can’t be broken. And something makes you want to root for them — I wanted to cheer them on even when they were doing awful things.

It can be hard to pull off this sort of over the top treatment of sensitive subjects, but this movie does a great job of it, and despite what you might think it isn’t completely down on men. I’ll give it four and a half out of five. It’s a wonderful mix of suspense, drama, and the darkest of dark humor, with a dash of noir thrown in. If you’re lucky enough to have friends like these, hang onto them — just try not to commit any murders while you’re at it.

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