And now, from the Department of Looks-Good-on-Paper, comes Addicted to Fresno (2015), a breezy, energetic, and impressively cast dark comedy that ultimately fails to click. Consistently confusing the problematic with the funny, this one casts both Judy Greer and Natasha Lyonne against type as codependent sisters with issues. Shannon Jackson (Greer) is a hot mess, attempting (with little success) to recover from sex addiction with the help of her supportive, goody-two-shoes sister Martha (Lyonne), who gets her a shitty job working with her as a hotel maid. Martha’s optimistic approach to her bleak outlook fails to rub off on Shannon, who puts her sister’s loyalty to the test when she accidentally kills somone—and enlists Martha to help her clean up her mess.
Somehow, Greer and Lyonne manage to deliver terrific performances despite a script that renders both characters—but especially Shannon—rather unsympathetic. More often than not, the duo’s wildly transgressive language and behavior stands in for, rather than supplies, comedy. Meanwhile, a talented and appealing supporting cast that includes Fred Armisen, Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, and Allison Tolman ends up largely wasted in bit roles that fail—with the possible exception of Plaza, whose Kelly serves as an aggressive lesbian love interest for Martha—to garner emotional investment. I was happy to see all these performers working together, but the end product is sadly underwhelming.