Quiz Lady
Release poster
Directed byJessica Yu
Written byJen D'Angelo
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyAdrian Peng Correia
Edited by
Music byNick Urata
Production
companies
Distributed byHulu
Release dates
  • September 9, 2023 (2023-09-09) (TIFF)
  • November 3, 2023 (2023-11-03) (United States)
Running time
99 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$23.8 million[2]

Quiz Lady is a 2023 American comedy film directed by Jessica Yu and written by Jen D'Angelo. The film stars Awkwafina, Sandra Oh, Jason Schwartzman, Holland Taylor, Tony Hale, Jon "Dumbfoundead" Park, and Will Ferrell. Ferrell, Awkwafina, and Oh also served as the film's producers, along with Jessica Elbaum, Maggie Haskins, Itay Reiss, and D'Angelo.

Quiz Lady premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2023, and was released by 20th Century Studios via Hulu in the United States on November 3, 2023.

Plot

Anne, a tightly wound, game show-obsessed young woman, receives a call notifying her that her gambling addict mother has fled to Macau. This news reunites her with her estranged and reckless older sister, Jenny. Jenny, who had previously been living in her car, temporarily moves in with Anne. One night while Anne is watching her favorite game show, Can't Stop the Quiz, Jenny secretly records Anne answering every question at remarkable speed and uploads it online. The video goes viral overnight, drawing the attention of a loan shark to whom Anne and Jenny's mother owes $80,000. Tracking down Anne, he demands that she pay off her mother's debt and informs her that he has kidnapped her pet dog, Mr. Linguini, as ransom. Anne blames Jenny for the mishap and asks her to use money she won from a lawsuit against a restaurant chain to pay the ransom; however, Jenny reveals she lied about winning the case and that she cannot pay off the debt. Instead, she encourages Anne—whose video gained the attention of Can't Stop the Quiz casting directors—to go on the show and win enough money to get Mr. Linguini back.

Prior to the audition for the show, Jenny dislocates her wrist at a bar. While waiting at the doctors office and reminiscing about old times, Anne admits to defecating into a hole when staying at their cousins' house in Burbank one summer when they were younger, due to her being too uncomfortable and unwelcome to do so inside the house. Jenny comforts her, saying that the cousins never liked their side of the family anyway, claiming it to be the reason why they never stayed with them again. During the audition, Anne, initially nervous about being in front of a crowd of people, tries to leave before it begins, but Jenny gives her some calming pills that are later revealed to be hallucinogens. After being given other pills to calm the effects of the first one, Anne does well at the audition, impressing the crowd and the producers.

The next morning, Jenny congratulates Anne and reveals to her that this was all part of her plan to become a self-described life coach, stating that she lied about lying and really did have a large check coming in from her lawsuit and she tricked Anne because she knew that she would not have gone on the show without her thinking she had no other choice. Angered, Anne insults Jenny, to which the latter retaliates saying that she was the one that has always been looking out for her, bringing up the time when Anne defecated into the hole, revealing she did not dig the hole deep enough and the other cousins found it. Jenny covered for Anne, telling them that she was the one to do it and this was the reason they never allowed Jenny, Anne, and their mother to stay with them again.

Anne returns home and her cantankerous neighbor, Francine, invites her into her home for a cup of tea. Francine tells Anne that she has lived a long time and that worrying about and trying to get other people to like you is a waste of time. Anne receives a call saying that she has been invited to go onto Can't Stop the Quiz, and decides to go on the show with Francine as her partner. Meanwhile, Jenny negotiates with the loan sharks and eventually steals Mr. Linguini back. Anne shows strong disdain for Ron, the long-running returning champion on Can't Stop the Quiz, and finishes a distant second to him after the first round. When Jenny shows up with Mr. Linguini, she reconciles with and convinces Anne to finish the game, and persuades the producers to let Anne have the dog with her to calm her. After the second round, Anne is closely behind Ron. When the third round is chosen to be a game of charades, Anne switches partners and plays with Jenny instead of Francine. On the winning word, they share a heartfelt moment as Anne admits to Jenny that she is her hero.

Anne wins the game, and goes on to win 93 consecutive games, holding the record for longest streak. She is later hired as a writer on the show. Jenny's check comes in from her lawsuit and the two of them pay off their mother's debts. Jenny also purchases a Malibu mansion where Anne and Jenny now live together.

Cast

Production

In October 2020, it was announced that an untitled comedy film was in development at Netflix, with Jen D'Angelo writing the screenplay, and Sandra Oh and Awkwafina starring.[4] In December 2021, Netflix reportedly left the film, and the rights were acquired by 20th Century Studios. Jessica Yu was also set to direct.[5] Will Ferrell and Jessica Elbaum were to produce the film under their Gloria Sanchez Productions banner with Artists First; Alex Brown served as an executive producer. Sarah Shepard oversaw the film for 20th Century.

Principal photography began on June 7, 2022, and was expected to last until July 22 of that year, with filming taking place in Los Angeles and New Orleans.[6] By the beginning of production, Holland Taylor, Jason Schwartzman, Tony Hale, and Ferrell were revealed to star in the film.[7] On September 9, 2023, it was revealed that actor Paul Reubens (who died on July 30, 2023) would posthumously appear as himself in a cameo.[3]

Release

In June 2022, the film was reported to be scheduled for release by 20th Century Studios as a Hulu original film in the United States, It premiered on Star+ in Latin America and Disney+ in other territories the same day.[7][8] In July 2023, the film's title was revealed to be Quiz Lady, with a release date of November 3, 2023.[9] The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2023.[10][1]

Reception

Audience viewership

According to Whip Media's viewership tracking app TV Time, Quiz Lady was the fourth most streamed film across all platforms in the United States during the week of November 3, 2023,[11] and the fifth during the week of November 13, 2023.[12]

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 81% of 90 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The website's consensus reads: "Quiz Lady's perfectly matched leads help Jessica Yu's occasionally uneven comedy overcome its periodic wobbles and land on the right side of hilarious and heartfelt."[13] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 59 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[14]

Accolades

Quiz Lady won Best Movie Made for Television at the 2024 Critics Choice Awards.[15][16] It was nominated for Best Streamed or Televised Movie at the 2024 Producers Guild of America Awards.[17]

References

  1. ^ a b "Quiz Lady". Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  2. ^ "Fastlane NextGen: Initial Certification Search" (Type "Untitled Sisters Project" in the search box). Louisiana Economic Development. June 8, 2022. Archived from the original on June 15, 2020. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  3. ^ a b Yamato, Jen (September 10, 2023). "Paul Reubens makes final film appearance in Awkwafina, Sandra Oh comedy 'Quiz Lady'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 30, 2023. Retrieved September 11, 2023.
  4. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (October 29, 2020). "Sandra Oh, Awkwafina Team For Netflix Sister Comedy Movie; Jessica Elbaum & Will Ferrell Producing". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on September 23, 2022. Retrieved September 23, 2022.
  5. ^ Kroll, Justin (December 15, 2021). "20th Century Lands Untitled Comedy Starring Awkwafina And Sandra Oh". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 3, 2022. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  6. ^ Darwish, Meaghan (June 7, 2022). "Sandra Oh & Awkwafina Hulu Original Sister Comedy Begins Production". TV Insider. Retrieved November 7, 2023.
  7. ^ a b Remley, Hilary (June 7, 2022). "Awkwafina and Sandra Oh's Estranged Sisters Movie Begins Production". Collider. Archived from the original on August 23, 2022. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  8. ^ Gelman, Vlada (June 7, 2022). "TVLine Items: Girls Vet Joins Bomer Series, Tony Awards Talent and More". TVLine. Archived from the original on June 27, 2022. Retrieved August 10, 2022.
  9. ^ Wang, Jessica (July 13, 2023). "Awkwafina, Sandra Oh are estranged sisters in 'Quiz Lady' first look". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 25, 2023. Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  10. ^ Vlessing, Etan (August 10, 2023). "Jenna Ortega's Finestkind, Dakota Johnson's Daddio Added to Toronto Film Fest Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 10, 2023. Retrieved August 10, 2023.((cite magazine)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  11. ^ Prange, Stephanie (November 7, 2023). "'Five Nights at Freddy's,' 'Loki' Top Weekly Whip U.S. Streaming Charts". Media Play News. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  12. ^ Prange, Stephanie (November 14, 2023). "'The Killer,' 'Loki' Top Weekly Whip U.S. Streaming Charts". Media Play News. Retrieved November 21, 2023.
  13. ^ "Quiz Lady". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 3, 2023. Edit this at Wikidata
  14. ^ "Quiz Lady". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved November 11, 2023.
  15. ^ Brathwaite, Lester Fabian (January 14, 2024). "'Oppenheimer,' 'Barbie,' 'The Bear' lead 2024 Critics Choice Awards winners". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 1, 2024.
  16. ^ Shanfeld, Ethan (January 14, 2024). "'Oppenheimer' Leads Critics Choice Awards With 8 Wins, 'Barbie' Scores 6 — Full Winners List". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2024.
  17. ^ Verhoeven, Beatrice (January 12, 2024). "'Oppenheimer,' 'The Crown' Among 2024 Producers Guild Awards Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 1, 2024.