Unicorn Store: An Awkward Comedy

Woman staring at a doorway.

It’s unicorn day. A colourfully fun day for the unicorn in all of us to have fun. Since unicorns are not real but there are plenty of one-horned animals that haven’t been as mythicized like the one-horned horse. There are narwhals, elasmotherium (large rhinoceros from Eurasia) or blue tangs (acanthuridaes) that have the modern legacy.

This film was released last year (2019) a few days before unicorn day. It’s about a young woman who is reluctant to grow up and stop acting childish finds an enabling magic store willing to sell her a unicorn hence repeatedly calling the store the unicorn store.

Screenshot of Kit on the couch after temp job.

Throughout the film, the protagonist grows more attached to the idea of having a pet unicorn and starts to regress more into a childish immature person. The film has too much glitter, shimmer and rainbow colours. The protagonist, Kit, plays around like an immature, pampered, weird almost 30 year old adult with tantrums. Her character first failed as an art student (possibly a lifelong dream) then works at a very grey office temp job being hit on by her boss gets an invitation to the unicorn store ran by a mysterious salesman Samuel L. Jackson with a glittery afro and pastel-coloured suits (only the second movie from 2019 with Samuel L. Jackson in a colourful suit; the first film was Glass.)

Screenshot of Kit at her advertising meeting

There are some periods of the film that are, in short, hard to watch because of the character’s approach at what creativity is especially at the board meeting for a new sales campaign for a vacuum shows why she failed art school beyond the first five minutes of the film. I just can’t relate with the character that seems to be in this weirdly deep denial about everything unless no one ever really interacted her while growing up. But in defense for the film, the character does try to do things her own way even though it is awful and ends up failing alot which is one of the themes of the movie overall.

Her boss, the vice president of the company she’s temporarily employed to, is a weird character like a sedated Ross Geller from Friends. He speaks with emotionless monotony to Kit.

Her parents are comforting about the terrible transition in her life failing out of school and not knowing the next steps. I like how they are not dumb characters but aware of her behaviour and are willing to call her out on it instead of feeding into it (somewhat until the end.)

There are somethings she does to secure her unicorn purchase. Kit cohorts a hardware store clerk Virgil to build her a stable for her unicorn. The friendship brews into a romance and becomes protective thinking that the whole thing was a scam for her personal information. Virgil was very funny and was the more relatable character than the lead being cynical about tall tales and self reliant to learn new skills to complete tasks like learning how to use sawing equipment properly.

The film is interesting that there is barely any licensed music throughout the film just music made for the feature like a harp that plays very often.

I wish the camera work was more steady for the long and medium shots. It looked like someone was holding the camera for a long period of time and the large heavy machine started to tilt.

Screenshot of Kit walking out of the unicorn store with Kevin.

The film shows a lot of difference in performance and focus for a first time director who was also the lead. For a comedy, it’s didn’t seem like a ha-ha comedy when I was watching it but just in storytelling structure. The humour just did land that well for me. The setups to the jokes and punchlines weren’t hit. For example, when Kit was working late a co-worker was just walking around with a floor lamp switched on heading home to watch news documentaries about young professional women being murdered in her area late at night while being a young professional woman leaving late at her job. It sounds funny but when I watched that scene it could of been funnier if the delivery emphasized more about news documentaries instead rushing out of there. When re-watching the film, there are a lot of scenes that could have been funnier and expanded on better but as someone who did comedy before (improv and some plays), comedy can be hard for the first try around especially directing comedy which is harder to do. At most this film is a mediocre goodbye to childhood with the lead clinging on with her dear life to rainbows, glitter and unicorns. Sadly, the whole movie just like the main character as the potential to be better.

Unfortunately, the film when through a social media bashing when it first came out because of what Brie Larson said about critics when she was promoting Captain Marvel. This film received more negative attention for all the wrong reasons which is very sad and unfortunate.

Trailer for Unicorn Store

Genre: Comedy
Year: 2019
Duration: 92 minutes

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Two out of five stars

All screenshots are from the film
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