Review: ‘Flipped’ (2020), starring Kaitlin Olson and Will Forte

April 16, 2020

by Carla Hay

Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson in “Flipped” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

“Flipped” (2020)

Directed by Ryan Case

Culture Representation: Taking place in California and Mexico, the satirical comedy “Flipped” has a racially diverse cast (white, Latino and a few African Americans) portraying the middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A husband and wife who aspire to host their own home-renovation show end up being forced to work for members of a Mexican drug cartel.

Culture Audience: “Flipped” will appeal primarily to fans of stars Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson, but the premise of the comedy wears thin about halfway through the story.

Kaitlin Olson and Will Forte in “Flipped” (Photo courtesy of Quibi)

The streaming service Quibi (which launched on April 6, 2020) has set itself apart from its competitors by offering only original content, and each piece of content is 10 minutes or less. Therefore, content that Quibi has labeled a “movie” actually seems more like a limited series, since Quibi will only make the “movie” available in “chapters” that look like episodes. The satirical comedy “Flipped” is one of Quibi’s flagship movies that began streaming on the service on Quibi’s launch date.

“Flipped” takes a concept that’s ripe for parody and wastes it with a dumbed-down crime caper that becomes repetitive and runs out of creative steam long before the story ends. Funny Or Die is one of the production companies for “Flipped,” which was directed by Ryan Case and written by Damon Jones and Steve Mallory. Despite some occasional laugh-out-loud comedic scenes and good efforts from the “Flipped” actors, they’re not enough to make up for the overall mediocrity of the screenwriting.

The married couple at the center of “Flipped” are Cricket Melfi (played by Kaitlin Olson) and Jann Melfi (played by Will Forte), two frequently unemployed, bitter and delusional people who consider themselves to be smarter and better than the “common people” they have to interact with in the real world. Cricket and Jann (who live somewhere in the Los Angeles area) also have a lot of resentment toward people who are more financially successful than they are. Cricket and Jann think that most rich people get financial success through luck or dishonesty, not intelligence or talent.

The irony is that Cricket and Jann have none of the intelligence or talent that they think they have. In the beginning of the story, Cricket has been fired from her job as a sales clerk at a Home Depot-style retail store called Fair & Square Her supervisor tells Cricket that too many customers have complained about Cricket for being abrasive and rude. Cricket responds to being fired by smashing several store mirrors on the ground.

Around the same time, Jann also gets axed from his job as a theater director of a middle school. Jann wants to stage a school musical called “Children of the Fire,” which is based on a true story of 12-and-13-year-old children who died in a fire in the local area. The musical is obviously a terrible idea, but Jann can’t understand why school officials and parents want him fired over it.

While simmering with anger and self-pity at home, Cricket and Jann (who are having problems paying their bills) commiserate with each other on their living room couch about how they think they’re underappreciated in the world. Cricket says, “Is this our life now? Are we destined to be two people with vision living amongst the blind?” Jann adds, “I think people are intimidated by us because we’re ahead of our time.”

As they’re watching TV together, Jann and Cricket jeer at a home-improvement show called “Pros & Connellys,” starring a cheerful married couple Chazz and Tiffany Connelly (played by real-life married couple Jerry O’Connell and Rebecca Romijn), who do tasteful but bland renovations of middle-class houses. “Pros & Connellys,” which is on a network called HRTV (Home Renovation TV), is “Flipped’s” obvious spoof of the real-life Chip and Joanna Gaines’ “Fixer Upper” show on HGTV.

While watching “Pros & Connellys” with contempt, Jann and Cricket tell themselves that Chazz and Tiffany are mediocre hacks. And lo and behold, there’s an announcement on the show that HRTV is looking to cast a new home-renovation show starring a married couple who could be the next Chazz and Tiffany Connelly. The auditions are open to the public and the winners will get to star in the new show. Jann and Cricket immediately decide that they’re the ones who deserve to win the contest.

With nothing to lose, Jann and Cricket buy a “fixer-upper” desert property for a very low price: $3,400. But there was a catch in the deal: Jann and Cricket bought the property sight unseen. And when they drive out to see the property for the first time, of course it’s a dirty and broken-down dump.

But the delusional Jann and Cricket think the house has a lot of potential for their tacky tastes. As they break down some walls, they come across a shocking discovery hidden in one of the walls: a large pile of cash totaling $500,000. Cricket and Jann can’t believe their luck. Or is it luck of they make the wrong decision on what to do with the money?

Instead of turning the money over to authorities, Jann and Cricket keep the cash and spend it all on redoing the house with trashy and gaudy decorations (including plastic pink flamingoes on the front lawn) and hiring a TV crew to film their HRTV audition video. But, of course, stealing that amount of hidden cash means that whoever owns the cash will eventually come looking for it. And, of course, chances are that whoever hid that cash is probably involved with something illegal.

Sure enough, three members of a Mexican drug cartel show up to retrieve the money, and they menace Jann and Cricket when they find out that the dimwitted couple spent it all. The leader of this trio of enforcers is named Diego (played by Arturo Castro), who reluctantly lets Jann and Cricket talk him into watching their HRTV audition video to get his feedback.

He actually likes what he sees, but Diego and his henchmen still kidnap Jann and Cricket to take them to Mexico and murder them. Just as Jann and Cricket are about to be killed and buried in their already-dug graves, Diego announces that he’s changed his mind. He tells Cricket and Jann that he’ll let them live if they “pay back” the amount of the stolen cash by doing free renovations for his home.

Diego is so pleased with the renovations that he recommends Jann and Cricket for home renovations to other members of the drug cartel. Among these “clients” are Diego’s boss Rumualdo (played by Andy Garcia) and Rumualdo’s  wife Fidelia (played by Eva Longoria), who live in a lavish mansion. And that’s what happens during the most of the story.

How long will Cricket and Jann be stuck in Mexico paying off their debt? And will they be able to submit their HRTV audition video in time? Those questions are answered in “Flipped,” which goes downhill about halfway through the story when the “fish out of water” concept starts to wear very thin. There’s a cringeworthy scene of Rumualdo and Jann singing a cover version of Sonny Curtis’ “Love Is All Around” (also known as the theme to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”) at the quinceañera of Rumualdo and Fidelia’s daughter.

Castro’s comedic performance as Diego is actually one of the best things about “Flipped,” but he doesn’t get nearly as much screen time as he deserves. Diego comes across as a tough guy, but then he’ll make off-the-cuff remarks that reveal another side to him, such as when he laments that people don’t show enough respect to Pottery Barn.

Forte has made a career out of playing tone-deaf dolts, so there’s nothing really new that he does here as Jann. Olson’s Cricket character (who’s the more dominant and aggressive partner in the marriage) has some standout comedic moments, but she becomes more of a shrieking shrew as the story keeps going.

Garcia and Longoria have characters that are written in a very hollow and generic way, so ultimately their talents are underused in “Flipped.” And some people might be offended that “Flipped” panders to negative stereotypes of Mexicans as drug dealers. (Almost all of the Latino people cast in “Flipped” are criminals or connected in some way to the illegal drug trade.) But regardless of the race or ethnicity of the criminals in the story, “Flipped”  comes across as an idea that should have been a 15-minute skit instead stretched into an 80-minute comedy that wears out its welcome.

Quibi premiered the first three chapters of the 11-chapter “Flipped” on April 6, 2020.

2020 American Rescue Dog Show: Rebecca Romijn, Rodney Peete host the show

February 5, 2020

Rebecca Romijn, Gabby Douglas and Rodney Peete at the 2020 American Rescue Dog Show at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, on January 19, 2020. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel’s “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” presented by the Pedigree brand returns for its third year with a two-night event Sunday, February 16, and Monday, February 17 (8 p.m. ET/PT). The only canine competition of its kind, the special focuses the spotlight on various breeds adopted from shelters and rescue organizations across the country vying for top dog in the world’s most adorable categories. The “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” is hosted by Rebecca Romijn and Rodney Peete, who are joined by co-hosts Ross Mathews and Larissa Wohl as they cover all the four-legged action ringside and backstage. This year’s celebrity judges are pet rescue advocates Gabby Douglas, Kevin Frazier, Jennie Garth, Sandra Lee Rand Melissa Peterman.

The “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” will once again highlight the heartfelt traits and benefits of mixed breeds and rescued purebreds, including Beagles, Great Danes, Pugs, West Highland White Terriers and many more. Coming from extensive experience in the dog world, returning ring judges David Alexander, Lisa Arturo, Jennifer Gray and Terry Simons use their pooch prowess to crown a winner in each of the 10 categories: Belly Rubs, Couch Potato, Ears, Senior, Snoring, Special Needs, Talking, Underbite, Wiggling and Wrinkles. The winner from each group will face off in the finals where the panel of celebrity judges will be tasked with deciding which precious pup will go home with the title of Best in Rescue.

In addition to the competition in the ring, this year’s show features special video packages educating viewers about the availability of puppies in shelters, the issue of bonded pairs in need of loving homes and the rewards of adopting one of these doggie duos, as well as firsthand stories from adopters who share how rescuing a dog has enriched their lives. The special will shine a light on the important work of The Beagle Freedom Project, with a powerful segment on the organization’s dedication to rescuing and rehabilitating animals used in testing and research. The Grey Muzzle Organization is also highlighted with the television debut of their Public Service Announcement in which four comedy legends – Carol Burnett, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin and Carl Reiner – share their thoughts on growing older and why it’s so rewarding for people to adopt senior dogs in need of homes. Additionally, the show will pay tribute to rescues with a segment devoted to all those on the front lines who work hard every single day to save and improve the lives of dogs everywhere.

Last year’s Best in Rescue, Howard the Dog, returns with his parents Walter and Alex for a visit with Ross Mathews backstage. They are joined by Cynthia Rigney, Board President of the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society, who shares with viewers how the grant money the shelter received from the show has helped them help the many homeless pets in their community.

The Mission of the “2020 American Rescue Dog Show” is to celebrate rescue dogs in a unique competition spotlighting the adorable, quirky and even hilarious traits that make dogs perfect in the eyes of those who love them. The goal of the show is to shine a light on these incredible pets and inspire viewers to adopt their next dog from a local shelter or rescue organization. Whether already in homes or waiting to be adopted, these dogs are all heart and full of personality.

As the presenting sponsor, the Pedigree brand is closely aligned to the show’s mission. The Pedigree brand has worked tirelessly to help support the transformation of shelter dogs into pets with loving, forever homes by donating good food for the cause, and millions of dollars through Pedigree Foundation to shelters and rescues across the country. To that end, Pedigree Foundation will provide a total of $100,000 in grants to the winners’ shelters or rescues.

Serving as the show’s official mascot is the network’s own rescued and adopted pet, Happy the Dog. In addition to starring in movies and specials, Happy the Dog is a certified therapy dog and emotional support animal.

“2020 American Rescue Dog Show” is produced by Michael Levitt Productions. Executive Producers Michael Levitt and Jennifer Schulz are both animal advocates and rescuers whose lives are dedicated to increasing awareness of pet adoption. Levitt, an accomplished TV producer, and Schulz, a communications professional for pet brands and organizations, joined forces to create a show that is both entertaining and heart-warming. Their goal is to celebrate rescue dogs with the hope of inspiring Hallmark Channel viewers to adopt their next pet.

Throughout the show, Adopt-a-Pet.com will be showcased as a great resource for viewers to find a furry friend of their own.

About the Pedigree Brand

The Pedigree Brand is the number one brand of dog food and treats in the world, feeding more dogs than any other brand. The Pedigree Brand offers a wide variety of products and formats for dogs at every life stage. The Pedigree Brand is built on an unwavering love for all dogs and a commitment to dog adoption. For more information, please visit www.Pedigree.com.

About Pedigree Foundation

We believe every dog deserves a loving, forever home Pedigree Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to help end pet homelessness. Nearly 3.5 million dogs end up in shelters and rescues every year, and nearly half never find a home. The foundation was established in 2008 by Mars Petcare, maker of Pedigree) food for dogs, to help increase dog adoption rates. We’ve awarded more than 5,500 grants and $8 million to U.S. shelters and rescues that help dogs in need. At Pedigree Foundation, we’re working toward a day when all dogs are safe, secure, cared for, fed well and loved. See how you can help: www.PedigreeFoundation.org.

About Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After

Working in collaboration with the country’s leading animal rescue and welfare organizations, activists, distribution and advertising partners and celebrity influencers, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After aims to dismantle common misconceptions about shelter animals, provide resources, inspire the public to adopt, and ultimately create a future where every pet has a loving home. The initiative shines a spotlight on the countless lovable pets in our nation’s shelters through annual on-air programming specials like Kitten Bowl, Hero Dog Awards and The American Rescue Dog Show, as well as strategic partnerships, consumer marketing campaigns, public service announcements and grassroots efforts.

2019 American Rescue Dog Show: Hallmark Channel expands show to two nights; see photos and videos

January 28, 2019

American Rescue Dog Show
“American Rescue Dog Show” host Rebecca Romijn (Photo by Kim Nunneley/Alexx Henry Studios, LLC)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel’s second annual “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” presented by Pedigree premieres as an expanded, two-night event, Sunday, February 17 and Monday, February 18 (8 p.m. ET/PT) on Hallmark Channel. The special focuses the spotlight on various breeds adopted from shelters and rescue organizations across the country vying for top dog in the world’s most adorable categories. The “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” is hosted by Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell, who are joined by co-hosts Ross Mathews and Larissa Wohl as they cover all the action ringside and backstage. Guest judges are pet rescue advocates Bill Berloni, Debbie Gibson, Brandon McMillan, Mike Rowe and Lisa Vanderpump.

The “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” will once again highlight the heartfelt traits and benefits of mixed breeds and rescued purebreds, including Afghan Hounds, Corgis, Golden Retrievers, Huskies and many more. Categories include Best in Couch Potato, Best in Wiggle Butt, Best in Underbite, Best in Talking, Best in Snoring, Best in Senior, Best in Short ‘n Sweet, Best in Special Needs, Best in Smiling and Best in Belly Rubs. The top 10 dogs will face off in the finals where one proud pooch will be crowned Best in Rescue. In addition to the competition ring, the show will highlight the importance of fostering homeless dogs and adopting from local animal organizations.

The mission of the “2019 American Rescue Dog Show” is to celebrate rescue dogs in a personality-driven competition. The goal of the show is to shine a light on these incredible pets and inspire viewers to adopt their next dog from their local shelter or rescue organization. Whether already in homes or waiting to be adopted, these dogs are all heart and full of personality.

As the presenting sponsor, Pedigree is closely aligned to the show’s mission. The Pedigree  brand has worked tirelessly to help support the transformation of shelter dogs into pets with loving, forever homes by donating good food for the cause, and millions of dollars through the Pedigree Foundation to shelters and rescues across the country. To that end, Pedigree Foundation will provide a total of $100,000 in grants to the winners’ shelters or rescues.

Serving as the show’s official mascot is the network’s own rescued and adopted pet, Happy the Dog. In addition to starring in movies and specials, Happy the Dog is a certified therapy dog and emotional support animal.

“2019 American Rescue Dog Show” is produced by Michael Levitt Productions. Executive Producers Michael Levitt and Jennifer Schulz are both animal advocates and rescuers whose lives are dedicated to increasing awareness of pet adoption. Levitt, an accomplished TV producer, and Schulz, a communications professional for pet brands and organizations, joined forces to create a show that is both entertaining and heart-warming. Their goal is to celebrate rescue dogs with the hope of inspiring Hallmark Channel viewers to adopt their next pet. Throughout the show, Adopt-a-Pet.com will be showcased as a great resource for viewers to find their next pet.

About the Pedigree Brand

The Pedigree Brand is the number one brand of dog food and treats in the world, feeding more dogs than any other brand. The Pedigree Brand offers a wide variety of products and formats for dogs at every life stage. The Pedigree brand is built on an unwavering glove for all dogs and a commitment to dog adoption. For more information, please visit www.Pedigree.com.

About Pedigree Foundation

Formed in 2008 by Mars Petcare, the makers of Pedigree food for dogs, Pedigree Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to help end pet homelessness. Through no fault of their own, nearly 3.5 million dogs end up in shelters and rescue organizations every year, and nearly half of them never find a home. Pedigree Foundation helps increase dog adoption rates with grants and best practices that support the good work of shelters and dog rescue organizations throughout the United States. Its vision is a day when all dogs are safe, secure, cared for, fed well and loved. For more information on how you can support the foundation, visit www.PEDIGREEFoundation.org

About Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After

Working in collaboration with the country’s leading animal rescue and welfare organizations, activists, distribution and advertising partners, and celebrity influencers, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After aims to dismantle common misconceptions about shelter animals, provide resources, inspire the public to adopt, and ultimately create a future where every pet has a loving home. The initiative shines a spotlight on the countless lovable pets in our nations shelters through annual on-air programming specials like Kitten Bowl, Hero Dog Awards, and The American Rescue Dog Show, as well as strategic partnerships, consumer marketing campaigns, public service announcements, and grassroots efforts.