Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
Zoe Kazan breathes fresh, exciting life into a tried-and-true high concept, playing opposite herself as twentysomething identical twins in "The Pretty One." Actually, if we stop and count, she's playing four incarnations of the same couple of characters.
We first see her as the frumpy but sweetly naïve Laurel, who never left her family's rural California home. She stuck around after her mother's death to look after her melancholy father (John Carroll Lynch), even creepily going so far as to wear her mom's old-fashioned dresses. Kazan also plays Laurel's twin sister, Audrey, the stylish and sophisticated "pretty one" of the film's title. Audrey took off long ago, lives in the city and works at a boutique real estate agency.
But eventually a twist of fate occurs, and Kazan also ends up playing Laurel pretending to be Audrey, in a sort of heightened version of the vapid party girl's personality. And ultimately, she plays the best version of Laurel as herself; she's blossomed, she's radiant, but she's maintained her core sense of decency.
It's a lot to ask of one actress and it's a tricky feat to pull off; Kazan, with her bitty voice and big eyes, manages both the girlishness and the confidence of the Laurel/Audrey conundrum charmingly.