A new Drew Barrymore movie has just hit Netflix and fans of the actress are hoping it carries the same bite as her previous Netflix venture, Santa Clarita Diet.
The Stand-In marks Drew Barrymore’s return to feature films and tells the story of a reclusive comedic actress, Candy Black, who has fallen onto hard times due to her drinking. Things finally come to a head for Candy when she is charged with tax evasion and is sentenced to a year in rehab. But since Candy has not been seen in five years, her appearance is not current to many. So, instead of doing her own rehab, she hires her on-set stand-in, Paula (who is also played by Barrymore), to take her place. Paula, meek and shy, is all-in on the deal as long as Candy agrees to return to acting so Paula can get her job back as Candy’s stand-in. Candy agrees.
But Candy wishes to remain a recluse, staying away from the limelight. So, as things progress, she continues to have Paula stand in for her in all aspects of her life to include her boyfriend. As the body-swapping ensues, the comedy should follow. Unfortunately, what fans get is a cross between attempted comedy and sometimes drama, neither reaching its intended goal. This is made worse by the fact that Barrymore takes on an Adam Sandler-esque direction by giving her two characters ill-conceived fake voices. Whereas Sandler can sometimes pull that off, Barrymore is in deep waters here.
Of course, the shy Paula steps out of her shell and becomes Candy, taking over her life. Again, the “funny” should be apparent but Barrymore and her two persona’s falls flat. The movie wastes the talent of the hilarious Holland Taylor and co-stars Ellie Kemper, Michelle Buteau, T.J. Miller, and Andrew Rannells. The movie also employs many cameos by Graham Norton, Bridget Everett, Jimmy Fallon, Savannah Guthrie, Meghan McCain, Andy Cohen, Giuliana Rancic, Jason Kennedy, Kelly Ripa, and Ryan Seacrest, who all play themselves.
Jamie Babbit was brought on to direct the movie from a script written by Sam Bain. Babbitt has had recent success directing episodes of series such as Silicon Valley, Gilmore Girls, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Girls. Because of the pandemic, The Stand-In only received a minimal theatrical release and only recently premiered on Netflix.
Drew Barrymore has been sort of an enigma lately when it comes to feature films. Over the past six years, Barrymore has been virtually MIA on the big screen. She has appeared in only two feature films, the guilty pleasure 2014s Blended, which was her third movie with Adam Sandler, and the 2015 dramedy Miss You Already opposite Toni Collette. Other than that, the actress appeared in the hit Netflix series, Santa Clarita Diet.
Drew Barrymore’s return in such a lukewarm movie as The Stand-In has been quite a disappointment to critics and fans alike. Sara Michelle Fetters from MovieFreak.com summed up the movie perfectly by saying, “While Barrymore throws herself into her dual roles with enthusiastic aplomb, this is a sluggish, brazenly unlikeable comedy-drama hybrid that’s one of the year’s more disappointing failures.”
While Drew Barrymore has been absent from the feature film scene, it doesn’t mean the actress has not been hard at work. Her production company, Flower Films (which she created with partner Nancy Juvonen in 1995), continues to crank out projects, and Barrymore has also been busy with her own talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show. To promote her new talk show, Barrymore enlisted her seven-year-old self for some help. As she said in her Instagram posting, “As I continue to practice interviewing others, I couldn’t help but look back at myself at age 7 in the hot seat on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson!” Then she brilliantly cut together her adult self sitting in the chair that Johnny Carson sat in while interviewing the seven-year-old Barrymore. She added in her caption, “PS… shooting this clip was so fun and a little emotional as my own 7-year-old daughter Olive sat in as my 7-year-old self. So, I am actually speaking to her too.”
Her Drew Barrymore Show seems to be a popular one as it has been renewed for a second season.
For the moment, Drew Barrymore doesn’t have any acting projects lined up, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the near future. In fact, rumor suggests Barrymore and Sandle may team up for number four. At least with Blended, we didn’t have to deal with any annoying fake voices from either Sandler or Barrymore. So, if you’re willing to watch Barrymore go all Adam Sandler in The Stand-In, Netflix has it for you.