Tanya Wexler had directed three films at the time Buffaloed was announced, and unfortunately, none of her previously released films were particularly remarkable. In fact, Buffaloed came almost eight years after her previous feature film, Hysteria, which makes Buffaloed all the more interesting, because Wexler manages to hit the right tune on many aspects of the film.
The best thing about Buffaloed is definitely Zoey Deutch’s performance as Peg Dahl, where she takes on the role of a hustler who figures out a new way to make money in the ‘field’ of debt-collecting. Granted, this is a rather US problem, and the script does not really work in most other first-world countries, but it is an interesting and understandable conceit. Deutch reflects Wexler’s critique of her occupation with her performance very well, all the while being highly energetic, which makes the fast-paced film just slip by the audience in those ninety minutes.
Apart from the unique premise of the film, the implementation of the storyline is also quite smart, as it uses a time skip which ties everything together adequately once the film shows its hand. Furthermore, this greatly adds to the fast-paced approach Wexler takes.
It is also refreshing to see a crime comedy that focuses on a woman criminal, as that is not something we come across very often. It is in no way a remake of a classic crime comedy which lazy producers so frequently go for. That increases the quality of film in every way in my opinion. It also helps a lot that the protagonist is somewhat of a genius, which complicates things and makes the story more interesting altogether.Additionally, if one was to read into the political sphere of the film, there are multiple takeaways to be made – – there is more than ‘jokes’ and ‘crimes’ in Buffaloed.
If I am to have one critique with the film though, then that would have to be how ‘Hollywood-esque’ the film is toward the ending. By that I do not refer to the final act or anything, it is just a few scenes where the writer Brian Sacca apparently thought that he somehow had to fit crime genre norms. If there were more of those scenes, I would have argued that they betray what the film was originally building.
Buffaloed might not be considered ground-breaking or the best crime comedy streaming, but for all it does, it manages to add something new organically to the subgenre mash-up. Plus, Zoey Deutch is great in this film. What’s not to like?
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