SXSW Film Review: Recovery adds as much levity as it can to the global pandemic

A comedy both made during and about the pandemic that has forever altered the landscape of the world, Recovery adds as much levity as it can to the most devastating of situations.  Written, directed and headlined by the relatable comedy duo of Mallory Everton and Whitney Call (Everton serving as director and co-writer, Call as screenwriter), their broad, sketch comedy background initially appears as the film’s mentality as their characters – sisters Blake and Jamie Jerikovic – discuss the endless possibilities 2020 could bring during the opening February ’20 setting.

It may feel a little on the nose to begin with but as Recovery settles into its rhythm of exaggerated comedy blended with grounded realism, the film becomes an approachable road-trip laugher of sorts that sees the two leads brave the dangers of a COVID-laced world to save their grandmother from a nursing home riddled with the virus itself.

Social distancing, the mentality of the naysayers, and the comfort you find with those you quarantine with are all touched upon throughout Recovery‘s brisk 80 minute running time that comments on the absurdity of the crisis without making a mockery of it.  The comedic stylings of Everton and Call do initially flirt with that mentality though, as the aforementioned sequence of them discussing how they’re going to take on 2020 only feels remotely amusing – if that can even be the correct term used – because of how restricted the world became.  Thankfully, just as the duo’s own heightened, unsubtle performances find their grounding, so too does the material, and it’s when Recovery transitions to a road trip movie that it proves immensely enjoyable.

Whilst it’s incredibly likely that movies about the serious repercussions of the pandemic will be made, a project like Recovery feels more in tune with the type of material we actually want to experience, as it provides enough of an escape while still commenting on a crisis that we all faced together.  Though some of their jokes overstay their welcome at times, Everton and Call have an organic spark to them – similar to that of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler or Broad City‘s Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson – that should no doubt see their COVID comedy survive the current climate.


Recovery is screening as part of this year’s SXSW Film Festival, which is being presented virtually between March 16th and 20th, 2021.  For more information head to the official SXSW website.

Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.

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