SO there we have it. Oppenheimer is, officially, the best film of the last 12 months. All in all, the Christopher Nolan biopic sailed home and dry with seven Oscar wins to its name and six more than its Barbenheimer compatriot. And yet, this time last year, who would have predicted a Barbie movie would even be in contention for Best Picture? That’s impact.

With 2023’s chapter in the long running history of cinema now closed, we move forward with one more addition to the 2024 filmography.

This week sees the release of Drive-Away Dolls, a short but sweet action comedy from husband and wife Ethan Coen and Tricia Cooke. The former is better known for forty years of collaboration with his elder brother, Joel. Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country For Old Men, Inside Llewyn Davies…all Coen brother productions.

It is, however, through their individual works that a sense arises as to what each brother brings to the table in their joint ventures. Joel’s solo debut, The Tragedy of Macbeth, was a taut affair, black and white and moody to a hilt. Brilliant too. Ethan’s is a wilder beast, bawdy and colourful in all meanings of the word.

The film stars Margaret Qualley, daughter of Andie MacDowell and best known, in her own right, for the 2021 Netflix series Maid. Qualley plays uninhibited free-spirit Jamie, who hitches a ride with her uptight friend Marion (Geraldine Viswanathan) following the breakdown of her relationship with girlfriend Sukie (Booksmart’s Beanie Feldstein).

Marion has her own reasons for seeking a fresh start and didn’t quite bank on a companion on the road trip to Tallahassee, Florida. Things get messy when the pair are accidentally given the wrong hire car in a Philadelphian, one-way, car rental service. There’s a brief case in the boot and it’s hot property. Let the chase begin.

Bit parts and cameos for Pedro Pascal, Matt Damon and Miley Cyrus show off the draw of the Coen name - even where only half are present - while there’s a fine turn from Colman Domingo as the second villain of 2024 to be known merely as ‘the Chef’. It’s a trend!

Drive-Away Dolls is, put straight down the barrel, not to be taken too seriously. It’s a bawdy romp and epitomises sex gags over substances. What’s not to like about that?