I have an innate (and probably unfair) dislike for celebrity kids who slide into the business. Dakota Johnson (daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith) may never win me over. Scott Eastwood (son of Clint) seems like he isn’t even trying. There are definitely exceptions to the rule (loving John David Washington, son of Denzel) but Zoey Deutch (daughter of Lea Thompson) wasn’t one of them. However, even my black heart and mega-level skepticism can occasionally be warmed by excessive and persistent charm.
In Buffaloed, she plays Peg Dahl, a low-level Hustler on the mean streets of Buffalo, New York. She’s not so much criminal-minded as highly motivated by money and not particularly phased by laws. Which is inconvenient when she starts dating the lawyer who once sent her away for a 40 month stint (Jermaine Fowler). However, her biggest entanglement is with her former boss and current rival, Wizz (Jai Courtney). Their business is debt collection, a dirty business even when you do it legally, which no one does, because money. Money money money.
The movie’s uneven, or going through an identity crisis. It’s got the heart of Wolf of Wall Street, a breath of The Big Short, the soul of Hustlers, and a light freckling of The Departed. But since those are pretty good references, it’s not much of a problem. Director Tanya Wexler pulls the best out of the chaos, and if you’re not sure what to expect one scene from the next, rest assured Deutch is will be your bewitching, effervescent guide through the bedlam. She’s so dazzling I wish the script had thrown a few more layers her way. Peg is clearly amoral and dare I say it – ruthless – but the script is so sympathetic toward her we don’t dwell on the darker side of her character. Deutch hints at it with a maniacal smile and her balls-to-the-wall performance.