(Written by Intern, Amanda Davidowski)
I’m Totally Fine is a funny yet purposeful tale of how to move on from the death of someone one holds dear. The film doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary or groundbreaking, yet it is still an enjoyable watch. Despite its small cast, each star gives fantastic comical performances. With two leads like Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street, Rough Night, and Office Christmas Party) and Natalie Morales (Parks and Recreation and Abby’s), how could I’m Totally Fine not deliver on the comedy?
Vanessa (Bell) embarks on a solo trip to help her grieve the death of her best friend, Jennifer (Morales). She has rented a house where the two friends were going to celebrate their distribution deal for their organic soda brand “Two Rings”. Of course, nothing goes right as Vanessa gets constant reminders of her deceased friend. She forgets to cancel a party for the brand, looks at old pictures and videos, and wakes up the next morning to see Jennifer inside the house making her pancakes and coffee. It is not Jennifer, however, but rather an extraterrestrial being taking the form of her to study Vanessa for the next 48 hours.
Since the extraterrestrial has all the memories and emotions of Jennifer, Vanessa uses this as a way to recollect memories she had with Jennifer and essentially pretend her friend is still with her. She cycles between this constant state of having fun and taking her internalized anger out on the alien. Morales’s extraterrestrial performance is amusing, and plays off of Bell’s. Bell and Morales make a great comedy duo in this film. Bell exhibits all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is hard not to sympathize with her character the more the film goes on; Vanessa is easy to relate to. I think most people have been in a similar situation and dealt with it in a similar way—minus the whole alien thing.
Even though I’m Totally Fine mostly features Bell and Morales, there are a few scenes featuring hilarious interactions with the rest of the cast. Kyle Newacheck plays a strange man who Vanessa meets at a gas station and later helps her when her car breaks down. Karen Maruyama is a party planner who just won’t let Vanessa cancel the party setup. And of course Harvey Guillén, who I love from What We Do in the Shadows, makes a small appearance as the absurd DJ Twisted Bristle. The only performance I wasn’t fully sold on was Blake Anderson, who plays Vanessa’s boyfriend. He only appears through a phone screen, which makes his performance and character overall feel unnecessary.
Although I’m Totally Fine is amusing and has a strong bittersweet ending, it feels like there was something missing. It could be the fact that most of the film takes place in one location, or that scenes that just feel repetitive or endless. I’m Totally Fine serves as an enjoyable comedy, but humor aside, it is just another film about dealing with grief. I think it is still worth a watch, especially if one is looking for a good laugh.
I’m Totally Fine drops into theaters November 4th.