When watching TV these days, we usually have to sit through a dredge of adverts trying to sell us something new and exciting that we don’t need or a service we just don’t have any use for. Gambling, of course, is a big money spinner and you cannot go thirty seconds without seeing an ad for the latest “free bets” offer. Ironically, these are usually followed by messages about coping with debt and how, for many of us, money woes are sadly part of the day to day. But debt, as we see in new comedy Buffaloed, works both ways and there’s always money to be made.
The brilliant Zoey Deutch stars as Peg Dahl, a young woman hungry to leave her humdrum existence in Buffalo, NY and since her childhood has thought of nothing more, even if it means bending the law a little. Sent to prison for a ticket forgery scheme meant to help her gain a fast buck, it leaves her saddled with debt on her release and with no quick fix of her small town. However, after a chat with debt collector Sal (Brian Sacca, also the film’s screenwriter) she discovers that debt may be her ticket out of there and begins to start her own firm to demolish the competition – namely Jai Courtney’s Wizz – by any means necessary.
A comedy about debt collectors, themselves a rare and unique group of individuals ready to do whatever it takes, may seem like a recipe for disaster but Buffaloed gives it a fair old stab and, for the most part, is successful. Brought to the screen with gusto by filmmaker Tanya Wexler, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is, like the characters it depicts, from another world but while it doesn’t hit the rhythms of The Big Short or The Wolf of Wall Street, for example,the idea is strong enough for it to pass mustard and you may pick up a few interesting pointers along the way.
It helps, of course, to have someone as talented and effervescent as Deutch as your lead and perhaps more so than ever before, it’s perfect material for her. Feisty and unabashedly confident – and slightly annoying on the best way – Peg won’t be a character that everyone takes to but Deutch’s feminist-positive, powerhouse performance is another example of her multiple talents.
While some of the humour doesn’t quite work and its zippy nature might not to everyone’s taste, Buffaloed is one of the year’s most effervescent and off-beat comedies that lives and breathes on Deutch’s latest blockbuster performance. It probably won’t change your opinion of debt collectors, though.
Comedy, Drama | USA, 2019 | 15 | Digital HD | 1st June 2020 (UK) | The Movie Partnership | Dir.Tanya Wexler | Zoey Deutch, Jai Courtney, Judy Greer,