Mr. Wrong

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For other uses, see Mr. Wrong (disambiguation).
Mr. Wrong
Mr wrong.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nick Castle
Produced by Marty Katz
Written by Chris Matheson
Kerry Ehrin
Craig Munson
Starring Ellen DeGeneres
Bill Pullman
Joan Cusack
Dean Stockwell
Joan Plowright
Music by Craig Safan
Cinematography John Schwartzman
Edited by Patrick Kennedy
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • February 16, 1996 (1996-02-16)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $19 million
Box office $12.8 million

Mr. Wrong is a 1996 American romantic/black comedy film starring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Pullman. DeGeneres still mentions it occasionally in her talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It was a critical failure and a box office bomb.

Plot summary[edit]

The film begins with Martha Alston (DeGeneres) in a wedding gown incarcerated in a Mexican prison. The investigators call her Mrs. Crawford and listen to her explain why she committed murder on her wedding day.

Some time ago, at her younger sister's wedding, Martha is pestered by her family about when she'll get married. At work, she rejects a date with a younger coworker, Walter (John Livingston). Disappointed by her dull Valentine's Day blind date, she goes home to sulk in front of the TV, where, inundated by romantic imagery, she is prompted to get out of the house.

Martha goes to a bar where she drops her quarter in front of the jukebox. She bends down to get it when a man shows up and selects the same song she would have chosen. He is Whitman Crawford (Pullman), and they instantly hit it off. They go back to his house and have sex. He says he's a poet and an investor. He reads her one of his poems.

Martha introduces Whitman to her family and he impresses them. But by the time she meets his mother, she has become convinced he is not Mr. Right at all. His ex-girlfriend, Inga (Joan Cusack), and her accomplice, Bob (Brad William Henke), harass her. Inga refuses to believe that Martha has dumped Whitman. Whitman also refuses to believe he has been dumped and he begins stalking Martha and trying to woo her back in increasingly ridiculous ways. He even buys off her private investigator (Dean Stockwell) and abducts her to Mexico to marry her there.

Walter shows up to rescue Martha from the wedding, but trips. His gun falls into her hand and she shoots Whitman. Then she's arrested, and the investigators conclude that she murdered him. Walter springs her out of jail and explains that it was Inga who did it.

Walter and Martha ride a horse west towards the sunset. Title cards over this scene explain that they eventually turned north back to the US, Inga and Bob get married and open a pet store in Albuquerque, and Whitman continues his search for love.



The film received extremely negative reviews, garnering a score of 3% on Rotten Tomatoes from 29 critics.[1]

Mick LaSalle, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, found the film "dreadful" and "inherently unfunny" after Martha dumps Whitman and he begins stalking her.[2]

Rita Kempley, writing for The Washington Post, assessed the film a "sour, listless debunking of romantic comedies, ... [with] fewer laughs than Looking for Mr. Goodbar" and laments that "Ellen DeGeneres, a comedian and sitcom star in her film debut, [who] is ostensibly the protagonist here" does not control the action, but her character "merely reacts to [Whitman's] twists and turn-ons".[3]

Not every critic was disparaging of the film, however. Martin and Porter gave it three stars, and while acknowledging that "the script is predictable and Nick Castle's direction is only adequate", they found that "DeGeneres's personal charm and a few inspired gags make it all worthwhile".[4]

Box office[edit]

The film debuted at No. 6.[5]


  1. ^ "Mr. Wrong (1996)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster, Inc. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Mick LaSalle, "Little Right About `Mr. Wrong'" San Francisco Chronicle, August 23, 1996, p. D-18
  3. ^ Rita Kempley, ‘Mr. Wrong’ (PG-13), Washington Post, February 17, 1996
  4. ^ Mick Martin & Marsha Porter, DVD & Video Guide 2005 New York: Random House Publishing Group (2004), p. 737
  5. ^ ROBERT W. WELKOS (21 February 1996). "Weekend Box Office : It's a Bull's-Eye for 'Broken Arrow'". L.A. Times. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 

External links[edit]