Role Play Review – A forgettable, uninspired, and below-average action flick

By Lori Meek
Published: January 12, 2024 (Last updated: last month)
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Role Play Review
Role Play | Image via Prime Video
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Summary

It’s almost like the film wasn’t sure whether it wanted to be an action flick, a comedy, or a melodramatic love story. There’s nothing wrong with blending genres, but only when done right.

Since 1994’s True Lies, movies and TV shows about a suburban parent living a dangerous double life have been plentiful. Prime Video starts the year with Role Play, an addition to the genre where The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco takes on the mantle of a feared contract killer. Her hapless husband, played by Silo’s David Oyelowo, has no clue about what his wife is up to during those long business trips. 

Despite a promising cast, the movie, directed by Thomas Vincent and written by Seth Owen, isn’t more than a below-average and mildly entertaining flick with a plot you’ve seen 100 times before. 

On the surface, Emma has the perfect life. She’s madly in love with her sweet husband, Dave, and the couple are raising their two adorable children in the idyllic New Jersey suburbs. But Emma funds this charmed lifestyle by moonlighting as a paid assassin. 

One night, Emma suggests she and her husband spice up their sex lives by role-playing as strangers in a hotel bar. The night’s fantasy scenario is interrupted when fellow assassin Bob (Bill Nighy) recognizes Emma at the bar and puts her entire cover in danger. Left with no other choice, Emma removes Bob from the equation. But his untimely demise brings forth a police investigation followed by poor Dave learning the truth about his wife’s extracurricular activities.

This is the type of movie that starts strong before fizzling down into nothingness. We meet the assassin with a double life. What was supposed to be a sexy night turns complicated and blows her cover. After that, the film takes a turn for the snooze fest. There’s too much dialogue with not much being said, while the action shots are few and far between.

Considering how intriguing the premise is, Role Play is surprisingly boring. The dialogue feels awkwardly forced, and most conversations between the characters outstay their welcome. A great example of this is the hotel bar scene, where, despite Nighy’s charming performance, we didn’t need five minutes of Bob showcasing his endless supply of murder puns. 

Kaley Cuoco and David Oyelowo offer competent enough performances, and their comedic timing is one of the few saving graces of this film. However, most of the dramatic and heartfelt moments their characters share don’t work, nor are they believable.

A string of unsurprising twists

The movie repeatedly insults the viewer’s intelligence. While none of the so-called twists are particularly surprising, we do get to rewatch several scenes explaining what really happened. It seems a bit unnecessary at best and condescending at worst. While convoluted, the narrative is easy enough to follow. 

Role Play isn’t the worst film you’ll ever watch. But aside from its star-studded cast, there’s no real reason to waste your time streaming this one. The assassin with a double life trope has been done to death by more worthy titles like Mr. and Mrs. Smith or even the aforementioned True Lies


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