Actress Sandra Oh has had a long and celebrated career in both TV and film. Some of her most iconic roles remain on the small screen, thanks to her acclaimed work as Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy and as the title character of AMC’s Killing Eve, both of which earned Oh Golden Globe Awards. Her newest movie Quiz Lady (see what we know here) will be released shortly with those with a Hulu subscription, which also stars Awkwafina. Having seen it early I can say that Quiz Lady is thoroughly hilarious, and I need to see Oh in more comedies.
Quiz Lady is one of the many films which recently had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. I had the privilege of attending said premiere, and being in the first audience to see this delightful new comedy from director Jessica Yu, who previously worked with Oh on a number of Grey’s Anatomy episodes. The film stars Sandra Oh and Awkwafina as estranged sisters Jenny and Anne, who are suddenly in danger when saddled with their absent mother’s gambling debt. Their mom’s bookie kidnaps Anne’s dog, and the sisters decide to get cast in and film a popular trivia game show in order to procure the money to get the old pup named Mr. Linguini back.
While the business involving gambling addiction and a bookie sounds like a drama, Quiz Lady is anything but. The movie is thoroughly silly from very on in its runtime– largely thanks to the comedic chops of Oh herself. Case in point: her first entrance in the movie sees her hit by a car, while rocking a delightfully ridiculous costume and blue fake extensions. While Awkwafina is an accomplished comedian herself, she functions as more of the straight man in this dynamic, to hilarious results.
Awkwafina’s protagonist Anne is buttoned up and full of anxiety, largely thanks to the sisters’ upbringing with a mother who is addicted to gambling. Sandra Oh’s Jenny is in many ways her opposite, and is a free spirit experiencing both joblessness and homelessness thanks to her lifestyle. Together they make an odd couple, whose shared trauma and family history prevents them from truly connecting throughout much of the film’s runtime.
As previously mentioned, Sandra Oh is comic gold in Quiz Lady, and is the clear scene stealer of the upcoming Hulu comedy. She’s obviously an incredible dramatic actress, so this might be somewhat surprising for casual fans of the Canadian star. But she’s shown her penchant for comedic timing during Oh’s ten year run on Grey’s, while also balancing the show’s countless tragedies. When you also think about her iconic performances in Sideways and The Princess Diaries, perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising that Oh is able to carry the bonkers comedy.
Jessica Yu expertly directs Quiz Lady, and includes some really great visual gags. One standout sequence in particular sees Awkwafina’s Anne accidentally consuming a number of drugs during her audition for the game show, with some hilarious trippy moments and surprisingly expensive looking visual effects. The script by Jen D'Angelo is really killer, and the movie’s dialogue gives the movie’s cast plenty to work with, especially Sandra Oh.
Speaking of the cast, there's some A+ talent included in Quiz Lady, besides its pair of leading ladies. Will Ferrell (who is also a producer on the film) plays the host of the quiz show that Awkwafina’s character has been obsessed with for her whole life. The great Holland Taylor has some great material as her cantankerous neighbor, while Veep’s Tony Hale and actor Jason Schwartzman both kill in their respective roles. There’s also an amazing cameo I won’t spoil that has the potential to get moviegoers emotional given some events IRL. The whole cast give excellent performances, and help form a stellar ensemble of actors for the delightful comedy.
Quiz Lady will arrive November 3rd on Hulu. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.