THE KITCHEN **
Dir: Andrea Berloff (15, 108 mins)
An obscure British graphic novel, about three women who take over the Irish mafia in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen in 1978, has been given fresh life thanks to Oscar nominated writer Andrea Berloff (whose previous credits include writing Straight Outta Compton), now making her debut feature with this female-centric slice of gangster life. Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy and Elisabeth Moss are forced to take over the violent enterprise when their criminal husbands end up in prison, leaving them poverty-stricken. Unfortunately, unlike last year’s similar Widows, this doesn’t quite convince. Comedian Haddish plays Ruby O’Carroll, dealing with prejudice after marrying into the ‘family’ and abandoning her loudmouth standup hijinks for something far more muted. McCarthy fares better as tough-as-nails Kathy Brennan, the eventual head of the New York mob, and Moss rounds out the trio as gun-happy Claire Walsh as the three apparently low-key housewives go all Goodfellas/lasses with Common as an FBI agent trying to track them down. The violence escalates in an often confusing and unconvincing style, leaving The Kitchen rather half-baked.
Opens Sept 20