The word “Queenpins” is a gender-specific play on the word Kingpins. So, with this movie’s title, you might feel that you will be treated to a cinematic helping of toxic femininity.
However, nothing could be further from the truth.
This movie is based on the true story of three Arizona women arrested in 2012.
Well, they committed fraud to the tune of $40 million involving, get this, coupons.
For this feat, they were referred to as “pink collar criminals.”
Although I think the musician Pink would object to being collared in any shape or fashion.
They are two women who commit a multi-million dollar crime of petty larceny to underline the movie’s introductory words: “this is a story about little old coupons.”
Connie is a sweet little lady who struck gold as an Olympic athlete.
“I’m a three-time, gold medal winning, race walker,” she says, full knowing that we don’t know what she’s even talking about.
She has tried to get pregnant, but failed.
So her Internal Revenue Service auditor husband Rick (Joel McHale) has fallen out of carnal love with her.
Wait a minute, what word does “Rick” rhyme with again?
Anyway, Connie and hubby are also financially crippled in ways that mean they must use mutual disgust as a crutch in their failed efforts to communicate.
“You are spending money we don’t have,” her husband says, as Connie rustles up coupons.
“I am not spending money!” she reveals. “I’m saving money!”
We are told that she’s on a “coupon high”, which comes from the psychological balm one gets when they’ve won a coupon.
Connie’s neighbor and bestie Jojo, has also been on a downward spiral ever since she was a victim of identity theft that ruined her credit and left her ineligible to be employed, anywhere.
She lives with her mother while making YouTube videos, turned to click bait by her screen-ready appearance.
The two soon realize that they can make some easy money from coupons, especially after linking up with some Mexican coupon printing plant employees.
This double-threat girl value pack is soon joined by Tempe Tina (Bebe Rexha), a dark web expert who stole Jojo’s identity and thereby ruined her life.
But, this time, Tempe Tina’s quasi-redemptive role is to help the two ladies launder their money.
Three of them find themselves up against Loss Prevention Officer Ken (Paul Walter Hauser) and United States Postal Services Officer Simon (Vince Vaughn) after the FBI refuses to hunt down these coupon-wielding thugs, presumably because they (the FBI) are too busy chasing down “big” criminals.
This begs the question: what does it mean to be a big criminal? Must one fly planes into the World Trade Center to be classified as one?
After all, small crime is only small because it has not gotten big enough to break the law in a big way.
This movie raises additional questions about global outsourcing, corporate tax loopholes and an economy which blackballs supposed criminals without the possibility of second chances.
Beyond the severity of some of the issues raised, there’s levity with Jojo and Connie’s chemistry stealing each scene with a duality of hilarity.
The two go well together, while Simon is the perfect foil to Ken’s officious idiocy.
However if this were a battle of whose funniest between the guys and the girls, the brass ring would have to go to the Queenpins.
That said, the likeability of this movie is like a Kikomando breakfast: accessible wherever you may turn; but never really worth the bad taste in leaves in your mouth.