America’s indie sweetheart just stole our hearts again — literally.
Sundance darling Aubrey Plaza stars in “Emily the Criminal” about a credit card scam gone wrong. The first feature written and directed by John Patton Ford, “Emily the Criminal” centers on Emily (Plaza), who is saddled with mounting art school student debt and without a job thanks to her criminal record. To make ends meet, Emily poses as a “dummy shopper,” someone who buys goods with stolen credit cards.
The mastermind behind the operation? Charismatic middleman Youcef (Theo Rossi) whose devil may care attitude seduces Emily and bankrolls her shady future. Both Emily and Youcef are poised to take their scam to the next level in Los Angeles, but will it all fall apart?
“Emily the Criminal” premieres August 12 in theaters. The film also stars Gina Gershon, Megalyn Echikunwok, Jonathan Avigdori, and Bernardo Badillo.
Plaza, who also produced the film that premiered at 2022 Sundance, exclusively told IndieWire that the modern fascination with con artists, particularly women scammers, is due to the current state of America as a whole.
“There’s an underlying theme in this film about making your own rules,” Plaza said. “The system, the economy, the man, whatever you want to call it, is the villain of this film. You have someone who was punished by the system, and she has to make rules.”
The “Ingrid Goes West” alum continued, “I think people are interested in it because it’s fun to break rules, and it’s fun to watch someone break rules. It’s dangerous.”
“Emily the Criminal” was one of two Plaza-led titles to debut during the early 2022 festival circuit. Plaza’s second film, “Spin Me Round,” co-stars Alison Brie and is set in Florence, Italy and premiered at SXSW. Plaza also spent time abroad filming Season 2 of HBO’s “The White Lotus” in Sicily earlier this year.
IndieWire’s Kate Erbland praised Plaza’s range, citing “Emily the Criminal” as the actress’ “darkest territory to date” with the star “seamlessly blending the edges of an ‘unlikable’ character with her own persona.”
Erbland wrote in the film’s review: “She’s got an edge, but dammit if you can’t root for her. The problem with Emily: No one has rooted for her for so long, and it’s high time she start doing it for herself. Plaza’s performance only grows more nuanced, more compelling, more thrilling. Is she likable? Is she redeemable? Is she a hero? As Emily might ask, who gives a fuck? With a film and a star this in control of its pitch-black material, she’s not wrong.”
“Emily the Criminal” premieres August 12 in theaters.
Check out the trailer below.