It’s amazing how time can change so much. The people we consider our friends one day could easily become barely an acquaintance in a matter of years for all sorts of reasons. This is particularly the case with people we meet at school and at university. As we grow up into the adults we become, we begin to associate more with people who we share values with rather than those we’re forced to be with in the confines of a classroom. Distance usually just results in the dissolution of the friendship unless one were to reunite. Anything can happen at the point of reunion whether it’s renewed friendship, an unexpected romance, a seething hatred or more.
This is something explored in Catfight. Directed by Onur Tukel revolves around Ashley and Veronica who were friends at college but find themselves at the same event: Ashley the waitress and Veronica the host. Despite the verbal pleasantries, the whole thing turns into a brawl and the rivalry escalates in front of everyone. Can they mend the burnt bridge and look past their difference and find friendships?
The comedy comes off as very awkward and quite dark to fit in with not only the growing tension between the two main characters but also in the ways that fortune turns for both of them in a near blink of an eye and in the outside world’s increasing doom. It’s clear that that the film is shooting for dark comedy but it comes off as being rather mean spirited, throwing in eccentric and bloody battles between the pair just for kicks. It’s rather difficult to build a rapport with the main two characters especially Ashley because they are both so instantly unlikeable. Viewers will just feel bad for the surrounding characters for having to be anywhere near their toxicity. It doesn’t make for an enjoyable watch. It’s just painful. The narrative and the title is a bit of a mismatch.
The synopsis suggests that there would be a lot of screen time between Oh and Heche’s characters but they’re barely on screen together. If anything, the story is more of a portrait of two very different women with one minor connection. If they connected to each other a bit more then their fighting it would’ve made for a more interesting experience. As it stands, it just seems to be two women going about their lives who seem lodged to fight at random intervals as per the plot.
Whilst this wasn’t the most enjoyable watch, what did keep me going was Sandra Oh’s performance. Her ability to go through the spectrum of one human’s downfall is really compelling. She uses what she has to work with in the script and makes it her own. This isn’t to say that the rest of the cast aren’t up to standard. Far from it, all of the cast are great but they’re overshadowed by Oh’s performance.
A dark comedy that forgot to be funny, Catfight is an unpleasant misfire of a film.