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The Kitchen Is a Berserk, Female-Revenge Fantasy — and a Bad Movie

Repellent behavior does not a feminist heroine make.

It’s not unfair to scoff at movies made from graphic novels as being “based on comic books.” The Kitchen (adapted from the 2014 graphic novel by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle) is not mischaracterized as such, because it can be taken seriously only by committed graphic-novel fans. To others, the premise of three Irish Mafia wives in the Hell’s Kitchen section of 1970s New York City who resort to the goon-squad actions of their out-of-commission husbands sounds like something to poke fun at.

Who can blame the skeptics? This movie version of the comic book actually stars comediennes: Melissa McCarthy as Kathy and, through the benefit of non-traditional casting, Tiffany Haddish as Ruby. Elizabeth Moss, as Claire, has based her career playing sad-sacks and harpies, in Mad Men, The Square, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Her Smell; so Moss is a comic actress by default.

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