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Haddish, McCarthy and Moss take charge in "The Kitchen," which gleams through the grit

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07.08.2019

“It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” plays ironically over the opening shots of “The Kitchen,” writer/director Andrea Berloff’s undemanding crowd-pleaser about a trio of female gangsters in the late 1970s. Although it is adapted from a DC Vertigo comic, watching how these women take over the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York and become empowered in the process, one wishes it was based on a true story.

The song sets the mood as the three protagonists are introduced and defined by the issues — and men — that they will overcome over the course of this briskly entertaining film. Kathy (Melissa McCarthy) is a mother of two, married to Jimmy (Brian d’Arcy James) who takes her for granted. Ruby (Tiffany Haddish) is the “lazy” wife of Kevin (James Badge Dale), whose powerful mother (Margo Martindale) does not like her. And Claire (Elisabeth Moss) is the abused spouse of Rob (Jeremy Bobb).

When the three husbands are sent to prison for multiple crimes, the women are told “not to react.” However, Claire cannot suppress a smile at being free from her husband for three years. Viewers will likely be smiling too because it is easy to root for these women.

Alas, while Ruby, Kathy, and Claire are told by crime boss Little Jackie (Myk Watford) that they will be taken care of, when they don’t get enough money to pay the rent or feed their kids — and jobs are scarce for these women with no degrees — they decide to take matters into their own hands. In talking to mostly female business owners,........

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