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Tits bizarre sentimental drama is silly and bogus in every detail: an utterly extraordinary gibberish festival. Every implausible scene, every unconvincing character, every spoonful of contrived symbolism, every misjudged and undeserved emotional climax seems to have been concocted in a secret biological warfare lab to assault your mind with pure, toxic nonsense.

Melissa McCarthy, in no-fun mode, plays Lily, a woman who supposedly works a modest job in a supermarket but also seems to live in a sprawling country house with a porch and plenty of land to grow vegetables, often bathed in ‘a sunset. She is married to Jack, played by Chris O’Dowd – warmly, crumpled and kind. They have a baby girl who a year ago clearly succumbed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, although the exact cause of death is never discussed and never clearly established. In a common sense adult film, this deeply shocking theme would be treated with respect. Here it seems to be the occasion for sad but touching personal growth.

Cute and eccentric Jack is now in a mental institution after attempting to kill himself and Lily is left at her colossal honey-colored ranch, living her life the best she can and visiting Jack once a week in her lite version of One. Flight over the cuckoo’s nest. In her job, she is harassed and harassed by her boss – a terrible waste of Timothy Olyphant, by the way. And she’s got something new to contend with: There’s a certain CGI starling who always melts into her backyard and harasses her.

But after being more or less ordered to undergo therapy herself, from a certain Dr Larry Fine recommended by her husband’s establishment, Lily discovers that this adorable man, played with the heart by Kevin Kline and all as cute and quirky as everyone and everything, actually left the psychotherapy industry and went back to being a vet! Eh? What? Excuse me?

Well, these two professions combine into one, as Larry is interested in Lily’s Starling (though never commenting on its surprisingly obvious metaphorical quality) and Lily personally when they become friends.

The Starling is really so strange and so bad that it almost has some value as a Dadaist event, a synthesis of nonsense, a heartwarming randomly generated film that came out of the printer as a result of an experimental test. Computer program. Once upon a time, there was director Theodore Melfi who gave us the very decent movie, Hidden Figures, about the unsung women of color who took part in the US space program. It was an emotional film where emotions made sense. This, on the other hand, is a bewildering waste of time for everyone.


theguardian Gt