March 4th, 2022
MOVIE: ASKING FOR IT
STARRING: KIERSEY CLEMONS, VANESSA HUDGENS, ALEXANDRA SHIPP, EZRA MILLER, RADHA MITCHELL
DIRECTED BY: EAMON O’ROURKE
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 STAR (Out of 4)
The premise of Asking for It is enticing, about a women in a small-town, who is sexually assaulted by a guy she goes on a date with, and when he denies it, she turns to a gang of ladies with nothing else to lose. A part of it is Promising Young Woman meets The Warriors and that combo typically should be a knockout, but instead Asking for It is much too interested in style instead of substance. The cast is filled to the brim with well-known actors and there’s an interesting look to it and still this is the kind of movie that sadly fails to capitalize on any of the things it has going. Asking for It should be daring and inspirational and instead ends up being tedious and derivative. By the end, the only thing you might be asking for is your money back.
We meet Joey in her small Arkansas town, a waitress, working hard to get herself through college, while taking care of her mother at home. She meets Mike (Casey Kott) at work, serving him at the diner, and making a connection over small talk. When she invites Mike over, things go south when Mike sexually assaults Joey, which is followed by the textbook denial. Joey feels paralyzed, broken by her choice to even engage with this man, and the trauma has crippled her spirit. Another patron at the diner is Regina (Alexandra Shipp from tick, tick…Boom!) and she can spot another women wronged by the opposite sex. She introduces her to the Cherry Bombers, her friendly group of women, all mistreated by men in various ways. Through this introduction Joey finds her place, a group that protects her, and they all lean on one another to find justice in an unjust world.
Take the cast of actors gathered in Eamon O’Rourke’s film and you would hope for at least something to be filled with energy when you see the likes of Vanessa Hudgens, Alexandra Shipp, Radha Mitchell, and Leyna Bloom. They all know how to have fun with a part and it’s safe to say that all of the problems with Asking for It rest on the writing and direction from O’Rourke. That’s not to say there’s no potential here, where unfortunately it’s the direction that gets in the way of the writing. O’Rourke adds too much style, with freeze frame, interjected vintage looking photos, and pops of neon lighting, all of them slowing down the pace, to a movie that should be all energy. When Asking for It begins to roll into the women getting their revenge, it diverts to subplots that only distract more, hindering any hope of high tension.
As far as performances go, Kiersey Clemons carries her share, Radha Mitchell steps in as a more maternal character to the group that carries her edge on her sleeve, while Hudgens is obviously enjoying the opportunity to play a character with an angry side. The worst part of Asking for It is Ezra Miller’s White Nationalist and anti-women’s rights leader Mark Vanderhill. His misogynistic and racist tirades are all theater and interjections of his phony YouTube videos. None of it is supposed to be enjoyable but it’s aggressively annoying. In the end you hate his character so much that no matter what kind of justice his character is brought to, it’s ultimately not enough to make us happy.
It’s overall just sad. Asking for It has it’s mind in the right place, creating a modem all women biker gang, while injecting an inspired feminist spirit. Director Eamon O’Rourke is a talented voice and has his heart on the right path to telling stories. Sadly, this one is just not it. The pace is too slow, the action unmemorable, and the various characters are too scattered. There’s a better movie like this out there but Asking for It was not what I had in mind.
ASKING FOR IT IS AVAILABLE IN SELECT THEATERS AND ON DEMAND MARCH 4TH, 2022
Written by: Leo Brady