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‘The Stand In’ review: Drew Barrymore shines in dual role

The Stand-In is an indie film for two Drew Barrymores.

Candy Black, queen of comedy and star of blockbuster films like Clown Town and Pippi Bongstocking, has had enough of her life. After countless films, many vices, and one extremely public breakdown, she’s ready to hang it all up. Written by Sam Bain and directed by Jamie Babbit, The Stand In features Drew Barrymore in a dual role as Candy and her stand-in Paula in this dark comedy about ambition. 

Drew Barrymore gives a strong performance as Candy, a tired celebrity who has had enough. Her acting is raw and endearing. Switching gears, Barrymore gives a creepy performance as Paula, a desperate woman deranged by her desire to be a star. In an attempt to avoid rehab, Candy enlists Paula to replace her at rehab. It seems like a good plan, but Paula quickly learns how to manipulate the situation for her own gain. Barrymore rarely plays a villain, but she is brilliant at terrorizing herself.

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The Stand In takes a look at the trappings of fame and the hierarchy of Hollywood. Paula, the stand-in, strives to be the star and waits for her big acting break. She is easily disregarded and ignored as a background piece. Yet, while Paula is treated as inferior, she also feels a tier higher than the extras. 

Drew Barrymore has always been a fantastic actor and can carry this film on her own. However, The Stand In also features a lot of comedic talent that doesn’t really get a chance to shine. Ellie Kemper, Andrew Rannels, and Michelle Buteau are also a part of the cast and while they have minor roles, they are fun additions. Michael Zegen, (Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Boardwalk Empire) gives a fun and touching performance. 

The Stand In is ultimately about identity and finding your life’s passion. Jamie Babbit’s film is eerie and comedic, and sometimes uncomfortable. The Stand In is a unique addition to Barrymore’s repertoire that audiences will enjoy.

The Stand In will be available in select theaters, On Demand, and digital on December 11.

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