Queenpins begs the question: is non-violent crime still grounds to get one put behind bars? This crime comedy, based on a true story, brings together Kristen Bell and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as two BFF’s with a penchant for couponing. It is a hell of a fun time and feels gift-wrapped from another era completely.
Narrated by Bell (because, of course!), Queenpins chronicles the misadventures of two housewives stuck in a rut: a “three time gold medal olympic athlete race-walker,” Connie (Bell), and her best pal vlogger, JoJo (Howell-Baptiste). All JoJo wanted was a successful business and someone ruined her credit. Meanwhile, Connie is deep in Karen mode down a couponing K-hole in the aftermath of her miscarriage. General Mills, rising crust pizza, trash bags—nothing is off limits for Connie’s complaints!
Together, the two have a recipe for success—a $40 million coupon scam! Connie uses her coupon expertise to scam millions from corporations while spreading the money-saving to fellow clippers. Concocting the scheme is the easy part, but keeping a low profile with all that money? They will need the help of the sassy expert, Tempe Tina (Bebe Rexha), to have any hopes of properly laundering their wealth.
The angle of the story with the best friends is legitimately sweet and fun. In fact, it was a vibe I had been been hoping for, but failed to get, from 2019’s Hustlers. It is too bad then how dull and borderline unfunny the bits are that take place in Carson City, Nevada. Ken (Paul Walter Hauser) takes coupons very seriously, and will stop at nothing to bring down these low-profile, pink crime committers. His rapport with Vince Vaugh’s Simon is simply not that great. Why straddle such talent with generic poop and fart jokes? “Your ass smells like an outhouse at a carnival” isn’t as funny as the writers think.
This section did not derail Queenpins for me. In fact, it only serves to strengthen just how great every scene with Bell and Howell-Baptiste is in retrospect. I never knew a crime comedy could be this fun. Bell’s charming narration, as well as the sentencing section in the finale, are the cherry on top of this adorable surprise.
Queenpins presents a coupon, in select Cinemark Theaters nationwide on September 10, then streaming exclusively on Paramount+ on September 30.