The new film Inheritance (2020) directed by Vaughn Stein is tonally a challenge to grapple with at first. There is a lot of dialogue in writer Matthew Kennedy’s script that feels too perfunctory and a bit generic. The word “inheritance” is uttered at least three times, in case the viewer had dozed off and wasn’t sure if they were still watching the same movie. Yet, there are moments in the film – largely owed to Simon Pegg and his eccentric performance, that grabs the audience and demands you pay attention. In the end, it’s not quite satisfying and feels a bit like a movie mystery of the week from a TV network.
Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins) would have made most families proud being the district attorney – but not the rest of the Monroe’s. After her father’s sudden death, Lauren “inherits” a dark family secret that she must deal with. That secret involves Morgan Warner (Pegg) – an old friend of her father, Arthur (Patrick Warburton). She is left to grapple with details of the truth and must decide what to do with the burden her father has left squarely on her shoulders.
It is very hard to give too much information on the premise without spoiling various reveals the movie absolutely wants to surprise the audience with. Some of the reveals land well enough, while others will force your eyes to roll violently. There will be some moments that certainly surprise the audience, while others are far more predictable. In other words…this movie wavers from original and crazy to generic and mundane, as much as Lauren seems to do with where her allegiance stands.
The mystery plot and where it goes only feels more comedic at times, because of some of the performances. Lauren’s husband, Scott (Marque Richardson), exists just to cause a few extra scenes of conflict and to deliver badly written extraneous and expositional dialogue. There are a few too many scenes in the film that feel unnecessary, or definitely seem to defy reality.
In movies, audiences don’t expect to see every aspect of a person’s life as they focus in on the moment that has brought the audience into this character’s world. They accept that this character had a life before, and will possibly have one after this movie ends – this is a snapshot of their world. However, in this film, we are constantly reminded of too many things she’s now neglecting, which could work if there was some kind of payoff – but there isn’t. Instead, they are just moments that break away from the action and delay the end from arriving.
Inheritance isn’t a film you need to see at all, but it has moments that are entertaining. Pegg’s performance is probably worth the cost of the rental, but much of the rest left a lot to be desired. Collins isn’t bad but does seem to be just going through the motions with this script. Inheritance earns the Not a Total Waste of Time.