The ten years that Kate McKinnon spent as a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” are what made her a famous actor and comedian. But she has evolved into much more with her more than 70 on-screen credits. After getting her start at the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York and on Logo’s “The Big Gay Sketch Show,” McKinnon joined “SNL” as a featured player in 2012. Since then, she has become well-known for her spot-on impersonations of Hillary Clinton, Justin Bieber, and many other celebrities, as well as for her lived-in character work with original creations like serial alien abductee Colleen Rafferty and the numerous codependent pairs she created with co-star McKinnon was the longest-serving female cast member in “SNL” history when she departed the show at the conclusion of the 2021–22 season. She was also the first openly gay female cast member.
Hollywood contacted her, like it had countless “SNL” stars before her. Despite the fact that McKinnon has yet to land a major role that fully utilises her range of skills, she has a history of stealing scenes with modest supporting parts in everything from big-budget sequels to critically acclaimed independent films that have just been released. In movies when she stars, McKinnon is frequently the highlight, especially if the movie as a whole isn’t that terrific. The seven poorest and the seven finest films in her filmography are listed below in that context.
The worst 7:
The 2019 film “Yesterday,” which was directed by Danny Boyle (“Trainspotting”) and co-written by Richard Curtis (“Love Actually”), is an odd creature. Sheeran’s manager Debra, played by McKinnon, shows interest in Jack despite being obviously put off by his appearance. She says it straight out, “You are slender, but somehow round.” Like with many of her other performances, McKinnon gives every line extra life with a nervous pause or body movement. This helps the character come to life. The blandness of Debra’s demeanour on the page is highlighted by the manner she even sits on a couch.
The Spy Who Dumped Me:
Does Kate McKinnon ever get to be too much? In the action comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” starring Mila Kunis as Audrey, a woman whose seemingly ideal boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) dumps her by text message, that seems to be the question that is being asked. Furious and devastated, Morgan (McKinnon), Audrey’s best friend, and she set out to find an answer. However, as it turns out that Drew was actually a CIA asset, they soon become embroiled in a global conspiracy.
The 2017 dark comedy “Rough Night” makes an effort at a muddled interpretation of the “bachelor party gone wrong” subgenre, borrowing ideas from not just the “Hangover” series but also “After Hours,” “Weekend at Bernie’s,” and 1998’s “Very Bad Things.” Scarlett Johansson plays Jess, a devout senatorial candidate whose bachelorette celebration in Miami takes a drastic turn when the male stripper her best friend (Jillian Bell) purchased from Craigslist turns out to be dead. The party’s attempts to conceal his death set off a (tough) night of jet ski mishaps, swingers, jewel thieves, and personal development.
The support group is directed by Steve Coogan and features Christopher Walken, Zach Cherry (“Severance”), and actor/writer Tami Sagher. It is as improbable as Abbie and Sam’s twee romance and is calibrated for maximum theatricality and scenery-chewing. Glass Half Full Kate, played by McKinnon, brings a frenetic energy to the cast. The other members of the group find her incessant optimism annoying until she delivers a stinging monologue (and theme song) about how challenging it is to maintain a cheerful attitude in the face of impending death. Although McKinnon’s acting skills make it an impactful scene, it ultimately comes across as just as manufactured as Abbie and Sam’s neatly decorated Manhattan penthouse.
Office Christmas Party:
With the belief that whenever the camera is on McKinnon, something amusing will unavoidably happen, many of the movies on this list of the “Worst” have relied on her natural comedy abilities to prop up a weak screenplay character. It’s a rare movie that either doesn’t think McKinnon will be hilarious or doesn’t seem to have cast her in any way to be humorous.
In comparison to “Family,” which was obscenely cutesy, “Masterminds” is a 2016 comedy. The real-life account of a 1997 bank heist serves as a pretext for director Jared Hess (“Napoleon Dynamite”) to dress up his actors in the most garish track suits and mullet wigs possible. As security guard David, played by Zach Galifianakis, Kelly (Kristen Wiig) seduces him into planning and carrying out a $17 million theft with the assistance of a loser from the neighbourhood named Steve Chambers (Owen Wilson). Steve betrays him and hires a hitman (Jason Sudeikis) to kill David when he travels to Mexico to seek refuge after the robbery.
Staten Island Summer:
“Staten Island Summer,” a movie that seems to combine all the worst elements of the previous films on this list, wastes almost the whole ensemble by relying on them to create meaning from lengthy improvised scenes with little to no structure and confusing its daily sexism for humorous retro sexism. The film, which was written by “SNL” head writer Colin Jost, tells the tale of Staten Island lifeguard Danny’s (Graham Phillips) final summer on the job before heading off to Harvard. Details of the plot mirror Jost’s own journey as a Staten Island native who attended Harvard. This is even more perplexing.
Intramural (aka Balls Out):
The 2014 college sports comedy “Intramural” (later retitled “Balls Out”) portrays itself as a parody of 1980s inspirational sports films — complete with seaside training montages and an opening with a classic Orion Pictures title card — but it’s actually a throwback to the bro-centric 2000s comedy of “Dodgeball” and “Old School.”
With Paul Rudd in “Admission” and Amy Poehler in “Baby Mama,” to name a couple of Tina Fey’s comedy team-ups, she frequently plays the more reserved type against the wilder, more irresponsible partner. Fey’s role as middle-aged party queen Kate in the 2015 film “Sisters” represents an unusual departure from her usual on-screen image. She persuades her newly divorced sister (Poehler) to have one final high school-style rave at their parents’ house before it is sold off.
DC League of Super-Pets:
With McKinnon as the villain, the 2022 smash “DC League of Super-Pets” gave the DCEU an animated makeover. Krypto the Super-Dog (Dwayne Johnson) must work these pound puppies (and pigs and squirrels) into shape to save Superman (John Krasinski) and the rest of the Justice League, who have been taken hostage by a deranged guinea pig (McKinnon) intent on world dominance. When a stray piece of orange Kryptonite gives the residents of a Metropolis animal shelter unexpected super powers,
“Bombshell,” a star-studded portrayal of the turbulence that overtook Fox News during the 2016 presidential election during “Fox and Friends” anchor Gretchen Carlson’s (Nicole Kidman) sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes, is another political docudrama brought to life by Jay Roach in 2019. (John Lithgow).
Few scenes include McKinnon as Jill, the cynical suburban neighbour who instantly irritates Kate. First, they argue civilly over Kate’s garage door being left open, then they argue about Kate speeding, and last, they argue about Maddie taking over the bounce house at Jill’s child’s birthday party, which leads to an outburst of outright animosity between the two. McKinnon’s portrayal fits the movie’s just-a-tad-twee tone well; it suggests a woman who understands how to play the part of a suburban mom but is a bit too odd to really sell the part.
At this point, the film itself has been overshadowed by the profoundly negative internet backlash that the movie and its all-female team received, and its memory hole has been deepened even more by the release of a more traditional legacy sequel in 2022. Beyond McKinnon’s hilarious, off-kilter performance, there is a lot to like about the movie, including Chris Hemsworth’s hilarious performance as the team’s bumbling receptionist and the way the movie foreshadows its own controversy by making its main antagonist (Neil Casey) a misogynistic internet troll.
In the movie’s prologue, a young Dory (Sloane Murray), who is already a forgetful fish, quickly becomes separated from her parents and loses all knowledge of how to get home. The first outsiders to attempt to assist Dory and the first to get alarmed by her short-term memory loss are a couple of quarrelling married fish played by McKinnon and fellow “SNL” cast member and former Pixar employee Bill Hader. They briefly turn around, but the little fish is no longer there.