Lazy Susan is a nothing story about an unlikable, lazy (obviously), mooching, unemployed middle-aged woman called Susan (Sean Hayes) who is struggling with life but refuses to put in the effort to help her situation. If this sounds very uninviting then you’re absolutely right. There’s nothing inspiring or particularly enjoyable about watching a reprehensible deadbeat, without a shred of likeability, take from everybody and feel like they’ve been hard done by life. I don’t know why the filmmakers thought this was a film worth making.
Living alone, Susan is unemployed, single and behind on her rent. When not sleeping in or sponging money from her mother, she’s either hanging out with her friend Corrin (Carrie Aizley) or cutting out pictures from magazines to make her collages. She also constantly lies to her family, friends and neighbors about her employment status or anything else really as she just coasts along day by day with no real purpose. Oh, and she hates her brother who has a job and chastises her for mooching off their mother. How awful.
Things change however, when she becomes involved in a minor car accident with Phil (Jim Rash) and begins dating him shortly after. Things look hopeful for our heroine (?) when she learns Phil is a successful business owner. With her new relationship she sees an opportunity for someone to take care of her so she never has to get a job. Having a successful boyfriend also gives her the opportunity to rub it in the face of Kmart manager Velvet (Allison Janney) who Susan has been jealous of her whole life.
Phil however isn’t exactly who he seems and when Susan learns the truth, she realizes the only way to improve her circumstances is to enter a talent competition with Corrin so they can be successful musicians – only they have no talent. Whatever will Susan do to get ahead in life? I’ll give you a hint and save you the painful experience of watching this train wreck of a movie: it involves getting off her ass and getting a job. Taddah!!
Sean Hayes gives an interesting performance as Susan that I found myself liking and hating at the same time. On one hand, he’s actually pretty good as he’s totally perfected all the mannerisms and body language of this loathsome character. He’s actually not playing a transgender woman as Susan is intended to be a cisgender woman, and while it’s obviously a man playing the character for comedic purposes, he does have all behavioural quirks downpat.
Only he’s supposed to be funny – and he’s not. There are comedians who’ve really mastered that cringeworthy or awkward comedy style like Ricky Gervais. Hayes, to be charitable, isn’t in the same realm as Gervais. So while I could appreciate the work he’s put into creating the character of Susan, I was also embarrassed for him because of how awfully tragic his attempt at this style of comedy was.
Director Nick Peet (Disgraced) has tried to make an ironic comedy I imagine he felt was on the same level as something like Napoleon Dynamite but instead falls way short of being ironic or a comedy. It’s not quirky or stylized – it’s just downright painful to watch. I’ll admit to laughing at a few moments, but given how stale the story and overall experience was my brain was probably just grateful for anything funny that would garner a laugh.
Lazy Susan is a straight up cringeworthy film because the character of Susan is a disgusting and despicable person who we never feel sorry for and gives us nothing to root for. This isn’t an underdog story or anything inspirational. It just plods along from one moment to the next and I spent most of the runtime wondering how on Earth anybody agreed to fund this. Fortunately for those of us who are quarantined at home, there are plenty of better viewing options available to be streamed.