Aided by an obliging grifter, a Brooklyn grandma on the run tries to mend her relationship with her estranged grandchild as the three outrun mob goons in the latest from Boyle (The Lonely Witness, 2018, etc.).
Things haven’t been good for Rena Ruggeiro ever since the death of her husband, Vic, nine years ago and her realization that her daughter, Adrienne, had been running around with Vic’s right-hand man, Richie Schiavano, since high school. In spite of Vic’s connections, Rena’s always kept her nose clean and stuck to her routine in her Bensonhurst community, beginning with Mass and McDonald’s coffee every Sunday. There’s no sense in Rena getting overexcited like Adrienne would. After all, Adrienne hasn’t spoken to Rena ever since Rena said her piece about Richie and his quality as a partner. Now, however, Adrienne has a 15-year-old daughter, Lucia, who doesn’t even know her grandmother. Rena ponders these problems but doesn’t act until her pushy neighbor, Enzio, makes a move and she wallops him with an ashtray that brings him down and maybe kills him. What can she do but grab the keys to his classic Impala and high-tail it to the Bronx in the hopes that Adrienne’s in a charitable mood and can help her sort things out? But Adrienne is much the same, and Rena finds herself trying to figure out her next step as she sits in the living room of Adrienne’s neighbor Lacey "Wolfie" Wolfstein, a soft-core porn star–turned–con artist who’s taken a shine to Lucia. All this is prologue to the real drama, a caper-inspired road story of quirky personalities on the run littered with gruesome deaths as the truth about the hit on Vic comes out—along with so much more.
Deploying an inimitable tone that packs sardonic storytelling atop action and adventure, with a side of character development, Boyle’s voice works even when it feels like it shouldn’t. It’s just the right kind of too much.