Frankly, a “Covid-era comedy” reads like a threat to this critic, though maybe others will get more mileage out of social distancing gags circa March 2020, when the mere thought of public spaces sent shivers down the spine. The pandemic is hardly behind us, yet “Stop and Go,” starring and written by Whitney Call and Mallory Everton, formerly of the sketch comedy show Studio C, feels awfully outdated. Many of us may have doused our things in comical amounts of disinfectant and flown into frenzies by mere throat tickles, but the relatability factor is redundant at this point.
The girls, at the very least, just want to have fun. Jamie (Call) and Blake (Everton) are motor-mouthed sisters whose lives are upended by lockdown, though the bleakness of that reality is never really apparent save for the occasional groaning mention of “people dying out there.”
The girls’ grandmother, who lives in a nursing home overrun by Covid cases, is one such potential victim, prompting a cross-country rescue mission. It’s a race against time: the quicker they can get to Nana, the lower the chance of infection. Then there’s a third sister who doesn’t quite take the pandemic as seriously as she should — she’s on a cruise when Jamie and Blake first give her a ring, and she intends to take Nana in herself when she gets back, adding another layer of urgency.
Directed by Everton and Stephen Meek, “Stop and Go” joins the ever-expanding genre of female buddy comedies that posits women can be weird, manic, and messy, too. (See: “Broad City,” “Booksmart” or “Never Goin’ Back”). Everton and Call are charming enough, and Everton is a particularly magnetic physical performer, but their high jinks — from a ridiculous saga involving one of Jamie’s students and a pair of mice to a pit stop at a dog breeder’s pad — are hit-and-miss. But mostly miss.
Stop and Go
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 20 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.
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