After playing exclusively in theaters for a week, specifically attached to prints for Wes Anderson’s “Asteroid City,” the first trailer for “Drive-Away Dolls” has been offered up for online consumption. Anyone checking out Focus Features’ 1950s-set sci-fi comedy in multiplexes this weekend will likely get a theatrical helping of this one too, but you can watch it above instead.
Directed by Ethan Coen, but not alongside Joel Coen, the road-trip crime romp was written by Coen and Tricia Cooke. It stars Margaret Qualley, Geraldine Viswanathan, Beanie Feldstein, Pedro Pascal, Colman Domingo, Bill Camp and (in what seems to be another in a long line of just-for-fun cameos) Matt Damon.
This comedy caper follows Jamie (Qualley), an uninhibited free spirit bemoaning yet another breakup with a girlfriend, and her demure friend Marian (Viswanathan) who desperately needs to loosen up. In search of a fresh start, the two embark on an impromptu road trip to Tallahassee, but things quickly go awry when a mix-up results in them driving away with a car that isn’t theirs, with a MacGuffin in the trunk that sets a pack of criminals (led by Domingo) on their tails.
The longtime directing duo made news in late 2021 when “The Tragedy of Macbeth” arrived with just Joel Coen in the credits, marking the first time either of them had helmed a film without the other. The Denzel Washington-led Shakespeare adaptation earned good reviews, three Academy Awards nominations and a small moment of infamy when Oscar host Chris Rock uttered the word “Macbeth” on the telecast stage minutes before being slapped on live television by Will Smith. He should have gone with “The Tragedy of that Scottish Play.”
That the other brother would offer up this less… prestigious offering may remind folks of when the Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker team amicably split up in the late 1980s. Jim Abrahams helmed the two “Hot Shots” films, David Zucker directed the first two “Naked Gun” movies (which gave Leslie Nielsen a third-act revival as a deadpan comedy star) and Jerry Zucker helmed “Ghost” (which became, in its day, a Best Picture-nominated blockbuster that was for a time one of the very biggest-grossing films of all time globally) and “First Knight.”
Without getting into personal preferences, few would argue that comedy classics are any less valuable than grown-up melodramas.
“Drive-Away Dolls” opens theatrically on Sept. 22, alongside Sony’s own R-rated comedy “Dumb Money” (and the R-rated but presumably not-that-funny “Expendables 4”). Without getting into whether either of these films will be successful, it’s nice that the marketplace has gone from “Where are the comedies?” to “Too many comedies!”