There’s been a lot of talk lately about Judy Greer’s summer of tiny, thankless roles, in which she plays characters designed to be instantly forgettable in “Tomorrowland,” “Entourage,” “Jurassic World” and “Ant-Man.”
But the beloved character actress finally gets to shine in a starring role worthy of her talents in the black comedy “Addicted to Fresno,” a tale of two sisters in the blue-collar Californian city. Greer’s Shannon, a disgraced sex addict, returns to her dusty hometown to crash with her younger sibling Martha (Natasha Lyonne), a hotel maid who has her life pretty figured out, except for her habit of unrequited lesbian crushes. One of Shannon’s bedroom mishaps leads to the two women having to hide a dead body and come up with a whole bunch of cash fast, but their panicked hijinks seem to leave them with more dildos than dollars.
For her portrayal of a self-destructive misanthrope who isn’t always likable but remains deeply compelling, Greer won the Best Actress winner at this weekend’s Outfest awards ceremony. “Fresno” director Jamie Babbitt (“But I’m a Cheerleader,” Greer’s FX series “Married”) received the trophy on the actress’ behalf and revealed that her leading lady was happy to be #1 on a call list for the first time in her very busy career. (Greer currently has 100 acting credits on IMDb.) It doesn’t hurt that Shannon often feels like a fully fleshed version of Greer’s two best characters: the sex-obsessed, delightfully unhinged Kitty Sanchez on “Arrested Development” and Cheryl on FX’s “Archer.”
So don’t just mourn Greer’s thankless jobs, but watch the actress draw on every bit of biting humor and emotional profundity she’s capable of (and rarely gets to exercise). Written by Babbitt’s wife Karey Dornetto and co-starring Molly Shannon, Aubrey Plaza, Clea DuVall, Allison Tolman and Jessica St. Clair, “Addicted to Fresno” will be available on demand September 1 and will be released in theaters October 2.