When we first meet them, the Dyne family: husband Robert (Jenkins), wife Theresa (Winger) and grown daughter Old Dolio (Wood) are a team of exceedingly odd, strictly small-time grifters. We witness Old Dolio performing some intricate choreography to elude security cameras at the post office, where she breaks into boxes for loot. The trio share the proceeds equally. Key to the success of the outfit, Old Dolio starts to question not just her role, but the twisted parents who raised her and now rely on her special skills. Enter Melanie (Rodriguez), a bright young woman at loose ends who’s happy to join this merry band. Her presence and gradually evolving friendship with the repressed Old Dolio will bring a long delayed reckoning for this dysfunctional family.
What starts out as a colorful, strange, almost surreal farce gradually reveals itself to have something more on its mind, as a new, unexpected relationship causes Wood’s near catatonic character to wake up and smell the coffee about her life and family. What lends flavor to this offbeat cinematic confection is director July’s clever, well-calibrated script, Sam Lisenco’s vivid production design, and inspired performances from the four key players. Kudos to Wood in particular for pulling off such a challenging role, both emotionally and physically. Though some may find its persistent quirkiness oppressive, in our view “Kajillionaire” deftly navigates its tightrope of weirdness without falling off.