Tribeca 2022 Review: There’s Trouble in Paradise in the Wickedly Funny “The Drop”

Lex (Anna Konkle) has a lot on her mind before she heads down to Puerto Vallarta for the wedding of her friend Mia (Aparna Nancheria) in “The Drop.” Trying for a baby with her husband Mani (Jermaine Fowler), she’s keeping track of when she’s ovulating and she’s not only preparing the cake to bring to the nuptials, but when one of the two brides happens to be a former lover, she’s perversely been enlisted to write the vows and though she can expect a comfortable flight to Mexico, courtesy of her friend Shauna (Robin Thede), she’s feeling slightly uneasy that the TV star is paying for the entire affair with its luxe accommodations. Welcomed to paradise by resort owners Lindsey (Jillian Bell) and Josh (Joshua Leonard) with flower crowns, what’s going on underneath proves to be a bit too much when Lex is handed Mia and Peggy’s (Jennifer LaFleur) newborn Ani and loses her grip in more ways than one.

If keeping it loose doesn’t work out so well for Lex, it does for director Sarah Adina Smith in the playful largely improvised comedy that uses the fallout from Lex’s momentary lapse of control to explore the uncertainty that accompanies her and Mani’s best laid plans to have a child and what it will mean for them as a couple. It’s no wonder that Smith recruited a co-writer in Leonard after he previously channeled his anxieties about parenthood into “Fully Realized Humans” (shot by Smith’s husband and regular director of photography Shaheen Seth, who handles the camera with care here as well), and then assembled a murderer’s row of a comic ensemble for a true day at the beach for them as actors, though maybe for their characters not so much.

After arriving across the border with the shame of ruining the weekend before it can begin, Lex drifts away from the group while Mani is left to take questions about what happened, blaming the whole affair on a bee that was attracted to the flowers, and while Mia certainly isn’t buying it, other concerns start to overtake it as Josh and Lindsey are looking for financial help to keep their resort afloat, looking at Shauna and her partner (Utkarsh Ambudkar) as potential benefactors while those two have to keep an eye on their adopted teenage son Levi (Elisha Henig) with raging hormones and questionable online influences as to what to do about them. Smith, who typically unsettles with more dramatic material in films such as “Birds of Paradise” and “Buster’s Mal Heart,” proves to be a natural for wringing humor out of the discomfort that commences, having a deft touch along with co-editor Daniel Garber for a well-placed cut, particularly the film’s perfectly placed title card.

Everyone at the resort may start to question whether they still can recognize one another after everything that goes down, but as outrageous as things get, it’s a commitment to the recognizably human in “The Drop” that makes it work as well as it does, especially with Fowler and Konkle willing to reach as far into their emotions as they are for a punchline. As it turns out, everyone involved is pretty good at handling delicate material.

“The Drop” will screen again at Tribeca on June 12th at 9 pm at the Cinepolis Chelsea and June 17th at 9:30 pm.

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