Over the last few years, I have done a complete 180 on Blake Lively. I have zero interest in her explaining the history of ice cream or whatever, and plantation weddings are gross, but as an actress, I have reversed my opinion. Blake Lively is not bad, Blake Lively is good. She’s like a female blonde Keanu Reeves—with the wrong material, she can go VERY wrong, but give her the right script, and no one does what Blake Lively does better than Blake Lively. She has finally found her groove as a 21st century B-movie queen, and I am here for it. Give me one thousand movies like A Simple Favor and I will die happy.
Lively’s latest is The Rhythm Section, an action/thriller from Reed Morano. This is the movie where Lively plays a spy-type and injured her hand badly enough they had to shut down production for six months while she had two surgeries. The first trailer is out and I am into it. It’s a revenge plot and action-heavy, and scans like “John Wick but a lady and her family instead of a dog”. But it also has kind of an international Jason Bourne flavor—it’s based on an airport thriller by Mark Burnell—and also a shade of Red Sparrow with the sexy disguises and such. It looks like pieces of a lot of things, with some classic B-grade action thrown into the mix. I dig it.
I am worried about that January release date, though. Not only because January is a graveyard, but The Rhythm Section has been bumped twice, and now it is being released on Super Bowl weekend. No one goes to the movies on Super Bowl weekend. This is the equivalent of sticking The Rhythm Section in an unmarked grave in the weedy section of the graveyard. This release date speaks to absolutely zero confidence in the movie. So is this just a good trailer for a bad movie? Or is this Paramount getting cold feet on a Blake Lively-fronted thriller? Have they not seen A Simple Favor? Someone show them A Simple Favor so that they understand Blake Lively should absolutely be making thrillers. Or is this down to Paramount’s rumored money troubles? Could they just not afford a big splashy Thanksgiving ad campaign? They would have been up against Frozen 2 and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, so it would take a lot of resources to stand out that weekend. January is much less competitive, it just smacks of no confidence. I get it, I didn’t believe in Blake Lively, either, but she has found her calling as a schlock actress. Trust in that and don’t kneecap The Rhythm Section.