Filmmakers still seem to find the combination of “espionage action” and family comedy intriguing, as evidenced by recent releases like Family Plan, starring Mark Wahlberg. Role Play, directed by Thomas Vincent and featuring Kaley Cuoco, David Oyelowo, Rudi Dharmalingam, Connie Nielsen, and Bill Nighy, follows this trend. Cuoco, known for her roles in the popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory and The Flight Attendant series, takes on a new venture with Role Play. What does the film aim to offer through its star-studded cast?

Emma (Cuoco) leads a peaceful life with her husband, Dave (Oyelowo), and their two children, Wyatt and Caroline. However, unbeknownst to her family, Emma, also known as Anna Peller, is a skilled hitman who often undertakes assignments under the guise of office matters. The plot thickens when a role-playing scenario, planned by Emma and Dave to celebrate their wedding anniversary at a hotel, inadvertently exposes Emma’s true identity. Now targeted by a mysterious group, Emma must navigate the danger while also ensuring her family’s safety.

While the film’s plot may follow a typical formula seen in movies like James Cameron’s True Lies (1994), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), and Nobody (2021), where the revelation of the protagonist’s true identity adds intrigue, Role Play distinguishes itself through the charismatic performances of Cuoco and Oyelowo. Unlike other films in the genre, Role Play places a stronger emphasis on the chemistry between the two leads rather than excessive action sequences. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t deviate much from the familiar plotline, and its execution could have been more robust. Is the concept of international killer agencies wearing thin?

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Despite its adherence to a well-trodden formula, Role Play manages to captivate audiences through the charming performances of its main cast. While the plot may not offer much innovation, Cuoco’s potential on the big screen shines through. This subgenre is likely to persist, with the upcoming release of Mr. & Mrs. Smith early next month.

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A lifelong cinephile, he cultivated a deep interest in film from a young age. Following his architectural studies, he embarked on an independent exploration of film theory and history. His passion for cinema manifested in 2006 when he began writing articles and film reviews. This extensive experience subsequently led him to a teaching position at the esteemed Television and Film Academy in Yogyakarta. From 2003 to 2019, he enriched the minds of students by instructing them in Film History, Introduction to Film Art, and Film Theory. His scholarly pursuits extended beyond the classroom. In 2008, he published his seminal work, "Understanding Film," which delves into the core elements of film, both narrative and cinematic. The book's enduring value is evidenced by its second edition, released in 2018, which has become a cornerstone reference for film and communication academics across Indonesia. His contributions extend beyond his own authorship. He actively participated in the compilation of the Montase Film Bulletin Compilation Book Volumes 1-3 and "30 Best Selling Indonesian Films 2012-2018." Further solidifying his expertise, he authored both "Horror Film Book: From Caligari to Hereditary" (2023) and "Indonesian Horror Film: Rising from the Grave" (2023). His passion for film extends to the present day. He continues to provide insightful critiques of contemporary films on, while actively participating in film production endeavors with the Montase Film Community. His own short films have garnered critical acclaim at numerous festivals, both domestically and internationally. Recognizing his exceptional talent, the 2022 Indonesian Film Festival shortlisted his writing for Best Film Criticism (Top 15). His dedication to the field continues, as he currently serves as a practitioner-lecturer for Film Criticism and Film Theory courses at the Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts' Independent Practitioner Program.


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