Spin Me Round (2022) is directed by Jeff Baena (LIFE AFTER BETH, JOSHY, THE LITTLE HOURS) and written by Jeff Baena and Alison Brie (HORSE GIRL, THE RENTAL, COMMUNITY). I found this film to be far more accessible and funny than Horse Girl (2020). Amber (Brie), a manager at a chain Italian restaurant, is selected to attend the franchise’s educational immersion program in Italy. She jumps at this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Her optimistic attitude allows her to become friendly with the other managers attending the program, but she soon finds herself gaining the attention of the owner, Nick (Alessandro Nivola). What begins as an exciting romantic opportunity soon devolves into absolute mayhem.
I’ve been a fan of Brie since she starred on Community. She is able to bring an authentic human element to her comedic style that makes the characters she plays have a real pathos. You feel for her, and the situations she keeps finding herself in. Her eyes certainly help contribute to this feeling, as they are often pools of shock or sadness that wash empathy over the audience. When things start going wrong for Amber, those eyes reveal so much about her emotional journey – but then something funny or shocking happens, and the changes in tone are observable.
Nivola is probably one of the most underappreciated actors working today. His films are usually a little more independent and thus not as widely seen – but he always delivers an incredible performance. While he is only one of many characters in this film, he easily draws the attention of both those in the film and the ones watching it. He is charming while managing to project a persona that warns us to approach with caution. The connection between Amber and him is easy to fall into.
Of course, Brie is not the only actor giving an incredible performance. Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, Ben Sinclair, and Tim Heidecker all get some great comedic scenes and opportunities to really shine. However, Zac Woods is always a hilarious addition to a cast, and he does not disappoint here. He is more of a background character for the first act – but if you know who he is, you’ll likely pay close attention to the things he’s doing. Those who do are rewarded extra, as his comments and reactions to what he is witnessing will pay off later. The third act is where he truly gets to step in and shine.
Spin Me Round did not disappoint, and the story that twists into a darker comedy ends in a very entertaining joke. I never really knew what I should be expecting, and that is by design. There are a number of paths opened, and each one is possible – but Baena navigates his and Brie’s story well, so we never feel lost in those options. The film is currently in theaters, On-Demand, and Streaming on AMC+. Spin Me Round earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.