SXSW 2022: ‘Spin Me Round’ Takes A Wild Ride To Italy

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Spin Me Round - But Why Tho

Spin Me Round is directed and co-written by Jeff Baena and marks his fourth film with Alison Brie (who serves as the film’s co-writer in addition to starring in the lead role). Amber (Brie) serves as the franchise manager for an Italian chain restaurant called Tuscany Grove; she’s more than excited to learn that she’s won an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy to visit Tuscany Grove’s culinary institute. Upon arriving in Italy, Amber is wooed by Tuscany Grove’s CEO Nick Martucci (Alessandro Nivola), while also becoming entangled with his assistant Kat (Aubrey Plaza) and a mystery surrounding the entire program.

Baena has gathered a reputation for crafting genre-defying films, such as Life After Beth which features a man’s life thrown into chaos after his girlfriend returns from the dead, and The Little Hours featuring three nuns trying to seduce a young man who’s sought sanctuary at a convent. That tradition continues here, as what originally seems like your standard romance travel film eventually devolves into something stranger – at first, it seems like Nick uses the program as a way to hook up with beautiful women, and then elements of a murder mystery are thrown in. Unlike fellow SXSW entry, I Love My Dad, Spin Me Round manages to balance its comic and thriller elements which leads to an insane climax featuring an orgy and feral hogs. You read that right.

It also helps that Baena and cinematographer Sean McElwee utilize the environment to their advantage. Those looking forward to a scenic view of Italy might want to stick to films like Luca and Under The Tuscan Sun; Amber is promised a stay in a villa but she and her fellow Tuscany Grove managers are restricted to a crappy motel. McElwee uses flat lighting to emphasize how banal the setting is at first, but then shifts to darker settings as the film progresses – one scene even features blood-red lighting that wouldn’t be out of place in a horror movie. And the last time 10cc’s “I’m Not In Love” fit a film this perfectly was the first Guardians of the Galaxy film.

The cast is also stacked with comedy veterans, from Tim Heidecker to Fred Armisen and even Lil Rel Howery. The standouts of the cast have to be Molly Shannon, who plays overbearing Deb, and Plaza. Shannon has serious “try hard” energy, which leads to some hilarious moments where she tries to bond with Brie (to no effect). Plaza, on the other hand, is unpredictable; you never know if she’ll offer someone a cigarette or threaten to cut them with a broken bottle. It’s a shame she wasn’t in more of the film, as it sparks to life every time she’s on-screen or shares it with Brie. The same goes for Debby Ryan, who plays carefree Susie; one of the funniest moments is her nonchalant reaction to the chaos that occurs in the final act.

Spin Me Round makes for a perplexing, yet entertaining fusion between Eat, Pray, Love and Eyes Wide Shut. You never know what’s going to happen as the film goes on, which makes for an engaging watch. I highly suggest watching it with a friend or family just to see their reactions.

Spin Me Round premiered at the SXSW Film Festival 2022.


Spin Me Round
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Spin Me Round makes for a perplexing, yet entertaining fusion between Eat, Pray, Love and Eyes Wide Shut. You never know what’s going to happen as the film goes on, which makes for an engaging watch. I highly suggest watching it with a friend or family just to see their reactions.