“Lady Of The Manor” proves well-known actors — such as Judy Greer (“13 Going On 30,” “The Wedding Planner”) — can’t save a bad script. The film relies solely on sexual innuendos, substance abuse and overused movie tropes for comedy, easily discrediting its watchability and overall message of friendship and women empowerment.
The story takes place in a modern-day setting with a lazy, ill-mannered drug courier, Hannah (Melanie Lynskey), bumping into a rich preppy boy, Tanner Wadsworth (Ryan Phillipe) whose family owns the Wadsworth Manor. He inevitably hires her to act as Lady Wadsworth for historical tours.
As Hannah starts her job at the Manor of Lady Wadsworth, she unintentionally awakens the ghost of the actual Lady Wadsworth (Judy Greer) and the two embark on a journey of justice for the manor and their womanhood.
Despite the cast giving great performances in their roles, it wasn’t enough to save the poorly written film from a 26% score on Rotten Tomatoes by critics as of Sept. 21.
A downfall of the movie was its lack of comedic quality. The film uses a plethora of sexual jokes — which end up being a distraction from the old-timey storyline. The jokes are funny at first, but quickly became overused in a grotesque manner.
Directors Justin and Christian Long use sexual jokes to portray Hannah’s lack of intelligence. There are multiple scenes where Hannah’s character is overly dumb which only hurts the movie. When Hannah visits Max (Justin Long) at his job, she makes jokes about him sleeping with his students, inferring they are roleplaying. The joke is poorly executed the first time and only gets worse with each callback throughout the film.
Another mistake is the use of substances to show Hannah’s lazy and addictive traits. Doing this only reflects on the director’s inability to be creative and original. There is a montage of her refusing alcohol and weed as she becomes more lady-like from Lady Wadsworth’s direction, but the scene isn’t convincing or sentimental due to the film’s horrible character development, overused movie tropes and appeal.
Hannah portrays a manly, inactive lady who is taught by Lady Wadsworth, a pretty, lady-like woman on how to act and look her best. Sound familiar? It’s an overused trope of a well-liked popular girl glamming up the misunderstood main character and even with the addition of a ghost, the outcome isn’t any fresher or original in “Lady of the Manor.”
The male characters are no different. There’s Max, a nerdy historian whom Hannah overlooks because of Tanner, a good-looking but dull-minded rich kid who is already married yet still pursues a relationship with Hannah. There’s a particular scene showing Max walking out to his car while Tanner simultaneously walks by and Tanner starts belittling him by intimidation tactics.
Overall, a clearer focus on the friendship and shared struggles of being a woman between Hannah and Lady Wadsworth could have given the film better praise. Instead, the directors focused on badly executed and childish comedy.
“Lady of the Manor,” rated R, Apple TV+ or view it in theaters.