Desperados, on Netflix, is quite similar to a bad dream, the kind that wakes you up with a jolt. You are glad that it is over but are aware that you went through something horrific. The only upside to a dream would be that you can go back to sleep and will probably forget that it ever happened. The streaming platform has come out with over 50 films this past year alone. But this supposed romantic-comedy is perhaps one of its most bemusing additions.
At the centre of this film is a trio of friends, who form a triad of lovesickness, dejection, and sexual longing. The film, however, focuses on Wesley, played by an okay-at-best Nasim Pedrad. She is unemployed but owns a lavish house that seems to have the home decor equivalent of Chanel. And after a series of professional as well as personal rejections, she meets her perfect man, a 30-year-old who still has the looks of a high-school jock. Their lovey-dovey relationship is a month old. It is casual and fast. Wesley overhauls her entire personality for him. She eats lettuce instead of sausage and plays bubble soccer (I’d rather not ask). Much of this is the conventional rose-tinted, but actually misplaced, romance you’d expect.
Her friends are not as insipid or…wishy-washy. They are made of the same ilk though — as daft and sexually frustrated. Brooke (a one-note Anna Camp) hasn’t slept with her husband in over a year. And Kaylie (Sarah Burns), the funniest of the lot, which isn’t saying much, wants to adopt a child. Together, the three of them embody, nay, exude the female gender roles — find a mate, get married, and bear a child. Twenty minutes in, after introducing us to them, the film goes downhill, faster than a rolling boulder. The self-pitying flock write a scathing e-mail to Wesley’s boyfriend after he ghosts her for five days. That painful montage lasts for a few minutes — they take a jibe at his dead father, insert hundred eggplant emojis, and avoid writing, “May your wife be barren,” because that is taking it too far.
Over the 110 minutes, not a second goes by where they talk about anything but boys and sex. It would, single-handedly, confound the makers of the Bechdel test. And the film immediately rivals the Bollywood crazy-stalker-romance. As soon as they realise that the exceedingly juvenile and callous e-mail was a mistake, they fly down to Mexico, from the US, in an attempt to delete it from his computer. Perhaps, them flying south is their meta way of acknowledging the direction of the story. The film takes an uncomfortable turn as they land in Mexico. The ensuing crude humour only addresses one idea — the perils of dating.
The puerile jokes that director LP decided to include are rather excruciating. There is a point in the movie where Wesley witnesses, first-hand, a dolphin masturbating. Is it supposed to mean that even sea creatures are more sexually fulfilled than her? It is not as nauseating as the animal sex scene in The Brothers Grimsby but one does question the thought processes of those who deemed it funny or even fit enough for the film. There is also a set of recurring paedophilic jokes. A pubescent boy, who is infatuated with Wesley, touches her sex toy, breasts, and gives her a mouth-to-mouth. She is called a ‘niño molester.’ After a point, the film turns too egregious to even earn the label of a guilty pleasure. You may just require an eye bleach after this film.
You can watch Desperados on Netflix.