Saturday, September 4, 2010
Starring - Mischa Barton, Matt Long, Jessica Stroup
I like to imagine this piece of drivel as the by-product of a case of wine and a game of "You Know What Movie's Good..." Close your eyes and permit me to whisk you off to creation-land;
Writer Kate L. Fetting - You know what movie's good...Misery.
Director Morgan J. Freeman - You know what movie's good...Fatal Attraction.
KLF - You know what movie's good...Single White Female.
MJF - You know what movie's good...The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.
KLF - You know what movie's good...Obsessed.
MJF - You know what movie's good...American Psycho 2.
KLF - Hey, I got an idea...
MJF - ...and I have Mischa Barton's home phone number...
(Chuckles had by both parties.)
Ahhh, where to start? So much chastisation, so little time. The biggest concern here is that with access to a not bad budget, a not bad actress, and not bad equipment, everything was still so goddamn formulaic. When will people learn that formula can remain stagnant only when outweighed by spectacle? So much more could have been delivered using so much less...
The storyline is by-the-numbers ex-girlfriend pining over ex-boyfriend and plotting to remove current GF to regain her once perfect life. But the catch is, and this'll throw you for a loop, she's crazy! Go figure. The movie may think it's a little smarter than it actually is by opening on a somewhat cryptic flash forward of Barton's Shelby simultaneously driving, smoking, and weeping, but it's not. Possibly a desperate attempt at invoking sympathy before we watch this character plummet into madness; possibly a reminder of who the star of this thing is; possibly a showcase of Barton's multi-talents. But it's also the first instance of the ongoing trend of shitty and obvious foreshadowing that permeates this film. Throughout Shelby's quest of stolen true love, as long as one is watching the screen, one can predict what will inevitably happen down the line. From the introduction of Roy the banker, to Shelby improperly chopping wood, to Shelby's discovery of the lamest blazer ever, each piece of this "Ages 2-6" puzzle is spoon fed to us with the fear that we've never seen a movie before. (Honestly, who would wear a suit jacket with the number 7 embroidered on the lapel...unless maybe attending a formal dinner on The Island...) My favourite example of this "technique" comes in the form of Billy, the amalgamation of what is normally two stock characters within this obsession-thriller sub genre; a not-so-carefully woven tapestry of disbelieving authority figure and interfering family member. Of course, when he's on the receiving end of what I call "the old Scatman Crothers", what would formerly have been two kill scenes is reduced to one. Though Shelby does also shoot him. And burn him. So maybe it all equals out.
The other consistent presence, and general curiosity, is the inclusion of Shelby's character constantly vocalizing her Mike-based infatuations at seemingly inappropriate junctures, much to the nonchalant, unnoticing reactions of the other characters. No one seems concerned over the fact that she often starts phrases with sentiments akin to "When Mike and I get married...", and apparently nobody bothered to sit her down and tell her to get over it. Perhaps they're all on board the same train of thought as I am, and can't fathom the notion that an extremely attractive, albeit overly slender, blonde chick that owns a bowling alley and likes to drink could possibly be hard up for love.
I feel a little sorry for Mischa Barton. She's not really that bad an actress. The other two I could care less about; they're pretty enough and deliver lines adequately enough that they can both be in Homecoming II: Coming Home.(Copyright pending.) But Barton has somehow tumbled down the chute after climbing the ladder of Lost and Delirious. One look into those wounded and menacing eyes as she maniacally plots from the haven of her Fortress of Stockroom, and I can't help but wish that this vehicle was anything more than just stupid characters making stupid decisions that lead them into stupid scenarios. Given the resources to include overhead rotating camera zooms and multi-space music montages, but two of the many weapons of cinema, an individual may be inclined to utilize more innovation than simply adding football helmets and maple syrup to the cadre of blunt object beatdowns. I find it very difficult to believe that Stroup's Elizabeth would opt to hobble away from the toilet tanked Shelby rather than finish the job, (having discovered that scrapbook of murderous memories and all), or that the final stage of her escape plan was to cower in fear rather then fight back; it's as though she changed her mind mid-risk. Admittedly, it is feasible that this ignorance of verisimilitude was a (purposeful?) blessing in disguise as it did culminate in the snipping of Elizabeth's Achilles tendon, ultimately resulting in the film's most entertaining 2 seconds of screen time.
What a waste; not only of Barton, but also of what I presume to be a grand total of about one million dollars. A psycho love bitch with some imagination behind it could've been a good role for Barton too, but in today's day and age a raspy voice and a passionate high school montage just doesn't cut it.
You know what movie's good...not this piece of shit.