‘Queenpins’ Review: Deals, Discounts and Delinquency

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Kristen Bell and Kirby Howell-Baptiste stars in this true-story film about a pair of women whose coupon-counterfeiting operation turned up more than they bargained for.

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The real-life Arizona case was far less fun than “Queenpins,” which was adapted by the film’s directors and reunited with its lead actresses (both “Veronica Mars” and “The Good Place”) to stay. Uses humor gifts. Both outrageous and amusing without ever leaving an undercurrent of sadness. It’s impossible to know what originally inspired real-life women to start fake coupons. But what drives the characters of “Queenpins”—both the good girls spoiled and the not-so-good guys who chase them—is the idea that passion gives purpose to the lives of those less loved.

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Connie Kaminsky (Ms. Bell) is a former Olympic competitor in race walking (“a largely overlooked but often ridiculed phenomenon” one describes) who is unhappy with Rick (an unusually scary role for Joel McHale). ). Rick works for the IRS and is frustrated by his wife’s growing obsession: collecting coupons and buying in bulk. She can reduce the checkout total of $138.55 to $16.45; She’ll go dumpster-diving to find Colgate proof-of-purchase. The Kaminskis have enough laundry soap and grain to keep a family of eight supplied for years, which is one of the elements of sadness that goes unsaid in Ms. Bell’s consistently encouraging statement: The couple Tried many times and failed. To be a child At Connie’s insistence, they have gone through an in vitro fertilization procedure four times, which Rick explains, very disproportionately, has ruined them financially. He starts traveling for work three weeks out of four; Connie, whose many talents include a gift for compartmentalization and blinkered thinking, intensifies the frenzy with the help of JoJo Johnson (the hilarious Ms. Howell-Baptiste). Which draws the attention of another obsessive.

Ken Miller (Paul Walter Hauser) is a loss-making officer for a minor league supermarket chain whose only joy in life is finding coupon scams. He visits a cashier and tells him to refuse the $2 discount he received on Preparation H (which sets up a predictable joke about Kane) to an elderly woman, because the expiration date is November 31. At the end of the day, he goes home, cracks open a beer, turns on the TV and screams into the void. To seize his time and leave with some evidence, he fixes the case of Connie and JoJo, whose operation—perpetrated by a coupon-smuggling husband and wife (Francisco J. Rodriguez and Ilya Isorelas). Paulino) at the central printing plant in Chihuahua, Mexico – flew like an unguided missile.

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The problem with Kane’s “investigation” is that he can’t hear anyone until the matter falls into the lap of postal inspector Simon Kilmuri (Vince Vaughn), who treats Kane like the insect he’s been to until then. until he learns that Connie and JoJo are using US mail to flood the US market with “extra” coupons. Simon is fine at his job as Kane. And a little less inept. Connie and JoJo are, at the same time, utterly helpless, and how they stumble to such great heights is a tribute to American entrepreneurship.

“Queenpins”, which is also currently in theaters, won’t change anyone’s life, although as a study of “pink-collar crime” it takes viewers through a fascinating journey into the corrupt: Connie and JoJo doesn’t set the system up to be so elaborate or deliberately scam. But the system makes it so easy they can’t quite resist.

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