The Stand In (2020 film)

The Stand In is a 2020 American romantic comedy film directed by Jamie Babbit, written by Sam Bain, and starring Drew Barrymore, Michael Zegen, T.J. Miller and Holland Taylor. It was released on December 11, 2020.

The Stand In
The Stand-In.jpg
Official poster
Directed byJamie Babbit
Written bySam Bain
Produced by
  • Tom McNulty
  • Chris Miller
  • Ember Trusedell
  • Caddy Vanasirkul
  • Chris Miller
  • Brian O'Shea
CinematographyEric Moynier
Edited byPatrick Colman
Music byDaniel Wohl
Distributed bySaban Films
Release date
  • December 11, 2020 (2020-12-11) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$100,884


Actress Candy Black once was a blockbuster comedic star. However, after years of drug abuse and anger issues, she's considered difficult. On Entrapment Baby's set, she refuses to work until her stand in Paula (also Barrymore) reveals the director may replace her with Melissa McCarthy. During the scene, her co-star Jenna Jones hits her with a solid marble statue instead of a breakaway bottle. In a rage, Black shatters an ashtray and a shard hits Jones' eye. The video goes viral, ruining her career.

Candy locks herself up in her Long Island mansion for five years, while facing many legal issues from her addictions and tax evasion. Her romantic pen pal relationship with Steve Grady, also passionate about Shaker carpentry is her one joy - however, she secretly writes as Cathy Tyler, her legal name Cathy Tyler. In May 2019, sentenced to months in rehab, may ruin her plan to finally meet. She asks her former manager Louis to find her former stand-in Paula, now a struggling actress living in her car. Inviting Paula to her mansion, Candy asks her to attend rehab for her. She agrees, only if Candy resumes acting, with Paula as her stand-in.

In rehab, Paula meets director's assistant Ingrid, who offers her a cameo in a reboot of their former collaboration Saddle Up. Upon release, Paula tells Cathy, but she refuses because filming conflicts with her first date with Steve. Desperate to resume work, Paula, as Steve, messages Cathy, claiming to be married and severing contact. Then as Cathy, attending her first date with Steve, initially planning to break up with him, but quickly falls for and begins dating him.

Although the Saddle Up cameo is still in limbo, Paula convinces Cathy that she does a series of six-figure talk show apology appearances. This puts Paula in contact with Louis (who doesn't know she's Paula), as well as their new publicist Simon. He asks her on a date and she accepts, but they are interrupted when Paula and Steve spot each other (Steve sees Cathy/Paula was Candy Black after watching her on a television interview). Paula and Steve go back to his apartment and have sex. Several days later, the Saddle Up offer is a go.

Paula drugs Cathy to host another date with Steve at the mansion, dumping her in the backyard. During the date, Steve admits he is actually Larry Cooper from Ann Arbor, Michigan, infamous for accidentally peeing on the New Orleans Holocaust Memorial while drunk. Cathy's high drug tolerance results in a quick recovery from being drugged, so she enters the mansion bathroom to vomit. Steve narrowly misses seeing her there before he leaves. Cathy and Paula then have a physical fight, leading to Paula dragging Cathy outside, locking her out, and getting the police to remove the 'crazed stalker'.

Cathy seeks help from Louis. However, when he discovers Paula is who's been making Candy Black's comeback, he drops her for Paula. She then applies for a construction job as a carpenter, so she breaks into the mansion to retrieve some papers. Steve spots Cathy, and recognizes her voice from the phone. Paula walks in behind him, and the three are in the same room for the first time. Confusion ensues over their respective secret identities, and Cathy realizes Paula sabotaged her relationship with Steve to further their career. She storms out, and Steve dumps Paula to reunite with her.

Steve and Cathy go to his townhouse and start building a relationship, while Paula films for the Saddle Up reboot as Candy Black. Uncomfortable doing the physical gags, Paula begs Cathy to resume working as Candy. She goes downstairs to personally refuse Paula's offer, and after complimenting her Method acting skills over the past few months, she gut-punches her for trying to sabotage her and Steve. As Cathy goes inside, a group of teenagers take selfies next to a downed Paula while she's down.

One year later, Paula is successfully working as Candy Black and dating her publicist Simon, while Cathy and Steve have a happy, quiet life as woodworkers in a Shaker community.



In February 2018, Drew Barrymore joined the cast of the film and served as a producer under her company banner, with Jamie Babbit directing from a screenplay by Sam Bain.[2] In January 2019, Michael Zegen joined the cast of the film.[3] In February 2019, Charlie Barnett, Ellie Kemper, T.J. Miller and Holland Taylor joined the cast of the film.[4][5][6] Principal photography began in New York City in January 2019.[7][8] In February, filming took place in Lexington and Versailles, Kentucky.[9][10]


It was scheduled to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 23, 2020.[11][12] However, the festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[13] In July 2020, Saban Films acquired distribution rights to the film.[14] It was released on December 11, 2020.[15] It was released on Netflix on April 10, 2021.[16]


The film received negative reviews from film critics. It holds a 30% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 37 reviews, with an average of 4.5/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Despite impressively committed work from Drew Barrymore in a dual role, The Stand In struggles to find the humor in a premise with no shortage of comedic potential."[17] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 38 out of 100, based on seven critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[18]


  1. ^ "The Stand-In". Cinando. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  2. ^ White, Peter (February 2, 2018). "Drew Barrymore Lines Up Rom-Com 'The Stand-In' With The Exchange – Berlin". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  3. ^ White, Peter (January 31, 2019). "'The Marvelous Mrs Maisel's Michael Zegen Joins Drew Barrymore's Romantic Comedy 'The Stand-In'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  4. ^ McHenry, Jackson (February 11, 2019). "Russian Doll's Charlie Barnett on Alan, Oatmeal, and the Bachelorette Party That Changed His Life". Vulture Magazine. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  5. ^ "DREW BARRYMORE & ELLIE KEMPER FILM 'THE STAND IN' IN NYC". February 20, 2019. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  6. ^ Miller, TJ (February 21, 2019). "Because of the Drew Barrymore film I'm doing I had to sadly cancel the Friday shows 😔 You will love the film and we added shows!!". Facebook. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  7. ^ Kay, Jeremy (January 23, 2019). "Drew Barrymore rom-com 'The Stand-In' starts production in New York (exclusive)". Screen International. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  8. ^ Adams, Kirby (January 29, 2019). "Celebrity watch! Drew Barrymore heads to Kentucky for her next film". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  9. ^ Musgrave, Beth (February 25, 2019). "These Lexington streets closing Tuesday morning for filming of Drew Barrymore movie". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  10. ^ Centner, Caitlin (February 21, 2019). "Versailles shop becomes setting for Hollywood film". WKYT-TV. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  11. ^ Goldsmith, Jill (March 3, 2020). "Tribeca Sets Feature Lineup Of Films For 2020 Fest". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "The Stand-In". Tribeca Film Festival. Retrieved March 6, 2020.
  13. ^ Beresford, Tribly; Lewis, Hilary (March 12, 2020). "Tribeca Film Festival Postponed Amid Coronavirus Fears". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  14. ^ N’Duka, Amanda (July 15, 2020). "Drew Barrymore Comedy 'The Stand-In' Lands At Saban Films". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  15. ^ Nolfi, Joey (October 28, 2020). "Watch Drew Barrymore vs. Drew Barrymore in wild Stand-In trailer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 29, 2020.
  16. ^ "Drew Barrymore's 'The Stand In' Making SVOD Debut on Netflix in April 2021". What's on Netflix. March 17, 2021.
  17. ^ "The Stand In (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 30, 2021.
  18. ^ "The Stand In Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 15, 2020.

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