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Release Date: 02/23/24 [Cinemas]
Genre: Comedy. Crime. Mystery.

Studio: Shout! Studios.

"After the pharmacy in her small town is robbed, a girl who still lives at home with her parents takes matters into her own hands to solve the crime, while at the same time trying to get over her ex-boyfriend and become more of an adult." 


With the exception of Shane Black’s The Nice Guys and Rian Johnson’s Knives Out series, the last decade has not yielded many great detective fiction films, let alone funny ones. That's what makes the new comedy Drugstore June feel like such a breath of fresh air.


Directed by Nicholaus Goossen, the film stars Esther Povitsky as the ridiculous titular character, who goes from uninspired social media influencer to criminal detective overnight when her local drugstore (and job) is robbed.


What makes Povitsky particularly hilarious as June is her lack of self-awareness. If the fact that the character is still living with her parents wasn’t already enough proof, she’s a child at heart. While social media plays a huge role in her life, there’s only two things that truly occupy her mind: sweets and her ex-boyfriend. From the opening title sequence to the film’s final shot, there isn’t a single scene where June isn’t eating or thinking about eating something sweet. Although food serves as a consistent motivation for her to do anything, it’s the delusional idea that her ex-boyfriend will take her back that compels her to solve the robbery in the first place.


In any other film, a character like June would come off as annoying, but Povitsky’s portrayal is actually endearing to a degree. Despite her frequent mistakes and obnoxiousness, you can tell that she always has good intentions. Whether she’s literally tampering with the crime scene or fraternizing with local criminals to get a lead, her desire to do right always shines. It’s a subtle reminder of how often we might get tunnel vision in an attempt to achieve our own goals. Although not all of June’s side quests yield positive results, the journey is nothing short of enjoyable.


Povitsky is the star of the film, but that doesn’t mean she’s the only bright spot. As previously mentioned she’s joined by comedian Bobby Lee, and the rest of the cast is rounded out with appearances from Haley Joel Osment, Bill Burr, Beverley D’Angelo, James Remar, Jackie Sandler, Al Madrigal, Miranda Cosgrove, and even Dr. Phil’s archnemesis, Bhad Bhabie. While not everyone has a big role, every actor gets their moment. With an ensemble like this, that’s all you can truly ask for. The real brilliance is how some of these actors are cast in out-of-the-box roles that play into their strengths. For example, Bill Burr plays June’s doctor. Rather than care for her well-being (like he’s literally supposed to), he makes it clear that he is annoyed with her and that he couldn't care less. Additionally, Miranda Cosgrove, who has largely played a “good girl” throughout the years, plays June’s rival. This performance will especially please anyone who enjoyed when the former iCarly star dropped the F bomb on a podcast a few years ago.


Despite such a funny concept and even funnier cast, the film isn’t without its issues. While the story makes sense and the characters are fun to watch, the overarching mystery feels too one-dimensional. Make no mistake. June is a great detective character, and her gallery of suspects is impressive, but at times the mystery feels like an afterthought when it’s advertised as the main attraction. By the end, we understand that solving the mystery was supposed to give June the validation she needed to be an independent adult, but several times during the investigation it just feels like another obstacle. The fact that she still finds that validation before a major break in her case further proves she might have been better minding her own business. 


Additionally, there are elements introduced that initially feel like they are going to play a role but don’t. For example, June’s insane addiction to sweets is played up so much that you feel like it’s going to be used to help her solve her case. The same thing can be said about the emphasis placed on her social media following. While both vices do rear their head over the course of June’s investigation, they each wind up being bigger red herrings than even some of the characters. 

Even with its shortcomings, Drugstore June is worth watching. If not for its cohesive plot, then certainly for its cast, comedy and concept. The days of Sherlock Holmes and Columbo might be gone, but here Povitsky and company prove that there really is no such thing as a mundane mystery. And that even if you don’t solve the crime, doesn’t mean you can’t find the answers to other problems in your life.


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