Kajillionaire is flush with quirk. It’s an odd dramedy about a family of con artists comprised of Theresa (Debra Winger), Robert (Richard Jenkins), and their 26-year-old daughter Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood). All her life, Old Dolio has been taught to swindle, steal and scam at every opportunity. It’s all she knows, because it’s all her parents know. But then, during a hastily-conceived heist, a stranger named Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) enters their midst and turns Old Dolio’s world upside down. Melanie gives Old Dolio a chance to experience normal human interaction and childhood pleasures (pancakes!) for the first time, leaving Old Dolio to question whether her parents truly love her or simply view her as a pawn in their endless game of chicanery.
The film is odd, and Wood’s performance is purposely flat and monotone, which makes for a sometimes sluggish watch. Kajillionaire springs to life when Rodriguez’s Melanie is on the scene, but for the most part, it chugs along as a wry comedic heist movie tinged with weirdness, sadness, hints of joy, and ultimately some hope.
Kajillionaire was written and directed by actress, author and performance artist Miranda July, who tends to embrace opportunities to convey slice of life drama in quirky, Wes Anderson style ways. So if that’s how you roll, you’ll likely enjoy Kajillionaire and its unique, well-cast characters.