A misunderstanding at her mom’s nursing home leads her flighty, estranged sister Jenny (Oh) to arrive, like a whirlwind in a tight black dress and blue-highlighted hair, ready to grieve, only to discover their mom hasn’t actually died; she’s just fled to Macau on her latest gambling trip. Unemployed, Jenny tells Anne she’s “focusing on her energy and manifesting the life [she] wants” as she not-so-quietly moves back into their house. After a video Jenny posts of Anne reciting all the correct answers during an episode of the quiz show goes viral, a bookie kidnaps Linguini, demanding they pay off their mom’s $80k debt. Desperate, the two decide their only option is to have Anne appear on “Can’t Stop The Quiz.”
The rest of “Quiz Lady” sees Jenny and Anne in one madcap situation after another. They road trip to Philadelphia for an audition but can only book a room in a Ben Franklin-themed inn run by a Ben Franklin impersonator (a silly yet somehow wistfully understated Tony Hale). Anne gets high on the drugs Jenny gives her to calm her anxiety during the audition. Jenny has a face-off with the bookie and his gang. Anne has a face-off with a smug contestant (Jason Schwartzman, who mugs for the camera a little too much instead of crafting a real character) on a near-record-breaking winning streak.
During all of this, Oh and Awkwafina craft a prickly sibling chemistry, where shared memories and traumas from their childhood collide, evoking a myriad of mixed emotions. Unfortunately, Awkwafina’s muted performance often borders on one-note. Other than the particularly delightful drug trip sequence, she’s never able to convey what’s really going on under the surface for Anne. Oh, on the other hand, is clearly having a blast playing this hot mess. She nails her pratfalls and plays the comedy as broad as possible with aplomb. However, Oh can also find the hurt, love, and complexity beneath Jenny’s superfluous surface.