The worst thing about the new Netflix original Desperados isn’t the fact that it completely squanders all the goodwill that the streaming service has recently built up with fun originals like Always Be My Maybe, The Half of It, and the recent Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. It also isn’t the fact that the movie makes us instantly forget what a winning part of Saturday Night Live the film’s star Nasim Pedrad was. And, no, it’s also not the fact that the film is among the most female-unempowering things I’ve seen in a while, and that’s with it having a female director, female writer, and predominantly female cast.
The worst thing about Desperados isn’t the fact that it’s about a woman (Pedrad’s Wesley) whose entire self-worth revolves around whether her life includes a man (the hotter the better). Or the fact that she is so upset that her new boyfriend Jared (Robbie Amell) has gone five days without texting her that her natural assumption is that he’s ghosting her. Or, that when she finally can’t take it anymore, she sees no other option than to email him an obscene, profanity-laden tirade that not only insults his anatomy but includes her fervent wish that his dad was dead. Or that it took her barely thirty seconds to convince her two friends, Brooke (a wasted Anna Camp) and Kaylie (Sarah Burns, ditto), to help her write said email.
The worst thing about Desperados also isn’t the fact that, of course, we learn that poor Jared has actually been in a coma after getting into a car accident while on a business trip in Mexico. It’s also not the fact that he conveniently hasn’t seen the email yet because his phone is back in his hotel room, and he’s still in the hospital. Or that Wesley doesn’t just laugh the whole thing off and/or apologize profusely, immediately bringing this already-horrible movie to it’s much-needed quick and necessary end.
The worst thing about Desperados could have been the fact that Wesley, continuing her ridiculous and completely bizarro rampage of lies and way over-the-top behavior, decides that the only solution is to head down to Mexico, break into Jared’s hotel room, and delete the email from all of his devices. But, no, that’s not the worst thing, either. And it’s also not the fact that it barely takes her thirty seconds (sound familiar?) to convince Brooke and Kaylie to hop on board her sociopathic scheme. Or the fact that, once they all get down to Mexico, Brooke and Kaylie (apparently forgetting what they willingly hopped on board for mere hours ago) spend the entire rest of the movie shocked and dismayed by their friend’s behavior.
The worst thing about Desperados isn’t the convenient coincidence that the film’s only “nice guy” (a pity-worthy Lamorne Morris), who rightly blows off Wesley during an early-on Tinder date, is staying at the exact same resort as Jared at the exact same time, and that Wesley, of course, bumps into him while she’s in the process of figuring out how to break into Jared’s room.
The worst thing also isn’t the scene with Wesley touting masturbation to a nun, the bit where Desperados director LP (Lauren Palmigiano) has Wesley mark the passing of days by showing her birth control pills dwindling, or the bit where pedophilia is played for humor (involving a 12-year-old and a sex toy). It’s also not the out-of-nowhere plot that features Heather Graham as a lesbian shaman who seduces Brooke (just for laughs?), or even the fact that, despite all of this, Wesley doesn’t end the film sad and alone, as she so rightly should have.
No, the worst thing about Desperados (and this is saying something) is that Wesley, at one point, gets slapped in the face by a frolicking dolphin’s erect penis.
That actually happened. And if it isn’t clear by now, Desperados shouldn’t have.