‘Spin Me Round’ evaluation: Alison Brie stars in disappointing comedy

Director Jeff Baena reunites his common repertory gamers for “Spin Me Round,” one other droll ensemble comedy that, like his 2017 nunsploitation riff “The Little Hours,” turns into a chance for style experimentation and a visit to Italy.

“Spin Me Round” is co-written together with his main woman, Alison Brie, with whom he additionally wrote the 2020 movie “Horse Girl,” a sci-fi tinged character examine through which she starred. “Spin Me Round” pays homage to, and frivolously parodies ’70s European erotic thrillers — it’s an indie comedy that flirts with the concept of being a giallo movie, however doesn’t fairly go all the way in which.

Baena’s stylistic thrives, together with a title bubbled in a retro baby-pink font, a swoony rating by Italian composer Pino Donaggio and a plenty of sluggish zooms (the cinematography is by Sean McElwee), tip the viewer off to the style pastiche and conveys a way of foreboding to the story, which takes place on an Italian retreat for the managers of an Olive Backyard-style restaurant chain known as Tuscan Grove.

The attractive, melancholic Amber (Brie), supervisor of the Bakersfield franchise, has been chosen for this system by her boss (Lil Rel Howery), and her greatest buddy (Ego Nwodim) is satisfied she’ll discover love on her dreamy journey in an Italian villa with hunky Tuscan Grove honcho Nick Martucci (Alessandro Nivola). Nonetheless, when Amber arrives in Italy, she is greeted by disappointments and crimson flags. Handing over her passport, she finds everyone seems to be staying in a dumpy motel with doorways that don’t lock and a creepy information, Craig (Ben Sinclair). The opposite managers grow to be a gaggle of oddballs too (Molly Shannon, Zach Woods, Tim Heidecker, Debby Ryan, Ayden Mayeri).

Nick’s sinister and horny assistant Kat (Aubrey Plaza) quickly enters the scene, whisking every girl away for secretive rendezvous on Nick’s yacht in La Spezia and dangerous adventures within the streets of Lucca. The entire unusual state of affairs screams “coven of witches,” and “human sacrifice ritual,” or, extra realistically, “Eyes Wide Shut,” and fueled by jealousy and suspicion, Amber begins to drag the thread on the thriller in entrance of her.

She confronts Nick, accusing him of gaslighting and manipulating her, however because the story unravels in sudden (however completely anticipated) methods, Baena each subverts and fulfills the style expectations he’s been pointing at, which is a rug pull and never on the identical time.

Honestly, it’s a bit irritating. Baena solely frivolously gestures on the genres he’s referencing, by no means absolutely commiting to the bit. “Spin Me Round” is participating, because of the big forged of gifted comedians, nevertheless it’s probably not a parody, not fairly an homage. It stays in indie comedy mode, which means it by no means must be earnest or decide a tone or ship the splashy aesthetic extra of the genres that it signifies.

The complete movie seems like an train in dashing expectations — for each our heroine and the viewers. Amber’s hopes of an enormous Italian romance fizzle alongside our expectation for a wild Euro thriller. Maybe that subversion, bringing the heightened again all the way down to the realm of the mundane, is the lesson that we’re to remove from “Spin Me Round,” an attention-grabbing if dispiriting path to take.

Katie Walsh is a Tribune Information Service movie critic.

‘Spin Me Round’

Not rated

Operating time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Taking part in: Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood; Laemmle City Heart, Encino; additionally obtainable on VOD and on AMC+