If you’ve been missing Crazy Ex-Girlfriend after that huge Season 3 cliffhanger, the new movie Most Likely to Murder will be the perfect substitute. Not only did Dan Gregor, aka Rachel Bloom’s husband and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend writer, direct and co-write the film alongside fellow Crazy-Ex writer Doug Mand, but the movie features a lead character who tries very hard to fix everything in his life while failing miserably — which, yes, pretty much makes him the male version of Rebecca Bunch. And that's exactly what Bloom, who both stars in the movie and produced it, had in mind.
“I really like films where the hero and villain aspects of the protagonist are explored," says Bloom, speaking to Bustle over the phone. “Billy had a fundamentally high status — he's the most popular guy in school, he has parents that love him. And I like that he goes from a very high status to a very low status in the movie... it's a cool and unexpected point of view."
In Most Likely to Murder, coming out on digital and on demand May 1st, Adam Pally's Billy used to be the most popular guy in high school — but 15 years later, everything’s changed. He has a crappy job, his ex-girlfriend won’t return his calls, and only one friend still thinks he’s cool. When Billy returns home for Thanksgiving, he finds out his teenage flame Kara (Bloom) is dating the creepy guy from high school, Lowell (Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser). But after the mysterious death of Lowell’s mother, Billy sets out to prove that Lowell is actually a murderer — with disastrous results.
According to Bloom, it was decided early on that she would play Kara, who takes serious issue with Billy's actions and behavior. “As they wrote the character, there were aspects of her that were based on me, based on the way I talked about not only ex-boyfriends, but also general men in comedy who I feel like have used comedy as a way of certain dominance,” Bloom explains. “I have a complicated history with toxic masculinity in my career, and so a lot of [Kara's] anger is based on the way that I felt."
Kara, in a way, feels like a reformed version of Rebecca Bunch; instead of seeking out toxic dynamics from her past to avoid being alone, she’s focused on finding a healthy relationship, even if it’s with someone who is a bit of an oddball like Lowell. In an exclusive clip from the movie above, Kara is introduced as a smart, headstrong woman who puts her needs first, instead of giving in and pleasing Billy. She tells him that she has moved on and wants him to leave her alone, no matter how relentless he is.
The portrayal of a male Rebecca Bunch could've easily gone awry. Just look at the backlash CBS received earlier this year when it announced an upcoming show about a guy who moves to Austin to convince his childhood friend from camp they’re meant to be, even though she’s engaged. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fans quickly called out the show's creators for not considering the problematic connotations it could have, such as the trope of men in romantic comedies who feel they deserve women and are rewarded for overstepping boundaries. That type of story would dissolve the essence of what makes Crazy Ex-Girlfriend powerful — its heroine learns from mistakes and uncovers deeper issues that cause her to do such outlandish actions.
Thankfully, Most Likely To Murder turns toxic masculinity on its head and shows the importance of not rewarding men’s crappy behavior. “I love that [Billy] never gets the girl," says Bloom. “He doesn't receive full redemption because he frankly doesn't deserve it... That’s a really nice twist, especially for a movie written by two white straight men and starring white straight men. Sometimes the people who write those movies can reward toxic masculinity in ways that aren't realistic."
As Billy goes through an emotional journey, he reevaluates how he treats women and quickly learns his actions have consequences. “It's not toxic and male gazey in that way. That's something else I like about it, this feminist lens," explains Bloom, adding that "the sexiest scene of the movie is between and a 60-something woman who has an amazing rack. I think that it subverts expectations and clichés in a really great way."
As fans know, that's par for the course for Bloom. Watching Most Likely To Murder might make you want Season 4 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to come sooner, but don't worry, new episodes are underway. As far as what fans can expect from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's final season, Bloom has plenty in store — but is keeping it all under wraps. "We always thought of the season in four sections. We broke out Crazy Ex-Girlfriend like you're writing a movie, thinking, where do you wanna end up?," she explains. "Season 4 is kind of the last aspect of that general plan that Aline Brosh McKenna and I had."
Bloom and her co-writers are still in the midst of writing many parts of the new episodes, but the finished products will be must-sees. "We just started really working on the season, so there's a lot that we're still figuring out and that we don't know," Bloom says. "Even though we've had this four-season plan, there's still a lot of things up in the air and it's an adventure for us as well to write it, even though we know generally the point we want to make and what's gonna happen and what the end game is. There are little steps along the way."
While you wait for new Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episodes to come along, check out Most Likely to Murder to get your fill of Bloom, Gregor, and Mand's brand of humor.