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Addicted to Fresno review: less than the sum of its parts

October 8, 2015

Film + EntertainmentReview | by Dominic Preston


Natasha Lyonne & Judy Greer lead a cast of indie comedy gold in Addicted to Fresno, which unfortunately doesn’t quite deliver.

Addicted to Fresno follows the co-dependent relationship between Shannon (Greer), who has recently lost her job and is fresh out of rehab for sex addiction, and her overly optimistic sister Martha (Lyonne), a maid at a local low-grade hotel. In need of a job, Shannon hesitantly works alongside her sister as a hotel maid but soon gives in to her addiction with a lowlife hotel guest. Things quickly go from bad to worse though, resulting in her accidentally killing him.

Martha and Shannon spend the film trying to cover up the crime, meeting the fantastic ensemble cast that pop up along the way. Highlights include Allison Tolman & Fred Armisen as a couple who run a pet cemetery and blackmail our film’s leads, Aubrey Plaza as a gym instructor who awkwardly tries to date Martha – who is actually pining after someone else – and Molly Shannon as Margaret, the sister of the deceased hotel guest.

Director Jamie Babbit’s first feature, 1999’s But I’m a Cheerleader (also starring Natasha Lyonne) was cult classic gold. It wouldn’t be fair to directly compare these films, but regardless of style and tone, this time the collaboration hasn’t managed to capture the same fresh, thriving quality that But I’m a Cheerleader had.

It’s not that anyone comes off particularly badly here. The performances are good, it’s a delight to see Lyonne and Greer in leading roles and Babbit has previously proven herself directing a well-made low budget indie, but Addicted to Fresno ultimately leaves something to be desired.

Words by Joel Babbington