WATCH: Aubrey Plaza Breaks Bad in First Trailer for ‘Emily the Criminal’

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute
Courtesy of Sundance Institute
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The first trailer for Aubrey Plaza’s new drama Emily the Criminal has dropped, and it looks like the actress is continuing to make quite a shift from the comedy roles she’s known for.

Plaza stars as Emily Benetto, a young woman in Los Angeles who gets caught up in a life of crime while trying to find a way out from under her crippling student debt.

In the trailer, Emily explains what she would do if she had money to get her out of her bleak economic situation. “I just want to be able to experience things,” she says. “I just want to be free.”

We’re sure most audiences can sympathize with a scene in the trailer where Emily is on the phone talking about a balance she is attempting to pay down. The monthly interest being applied is burying her financially. “I need a real job – just to, like, pay my loans,” Emily tells one of her friends.

Desperate for help, Emily turns to a group of criminals who are stealing big-screen TVs. Actor Theo Rossi (Mayans M.C.) plays Youcef, the leader of the underground enterprise who tells her that she can make $200 in an hour. “You won’t be in danger, but you will be breaking the law,” he says in a nondescript accent.

Later, Youcef sets her up to work a credit card scheme, pulling her further into a dangerous position. She realizes this when a man pushes his way into her apartment and holds her down on the ground with a boxcutter to her throat.

Audiences get to see Emily fight back when she uses a stun gun to incapacitate a man and throws a woman out of a van. “We’re serious people,” she says. “They should be scared of us.” And it just spirals out of control from there when she fully embraces a life of crime.

Aubrey Plaza’s Emily the Criminal made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It is scheduled to be released in theaters on August 12, 2022.