Thursday, August 19, 2010

Completely Spoiler-Laden Quasi-rant About the Movies Chloe and Kick-Ass

Chloe is precisely the kind of movie I hate. (Though, I suspect it's the very kind of movie Ray Sawhill would like, and I mean that in a nice way. Seriously.)

The premise is a woman (Julianne Moore) thinks her college prof hubby (Liam Neeson) is cheating on her with college nubiles, so hires a hooker (Amanda Seyfried) to pose as a student and seduce him, just to make sure. The wrinkle is this hooker has mommy issues all wrapped around a gooey Oedipus/Electra complex center. Unknown to the woman, the hooker has had her eye on her for a while now, since they both "work" on the same street. This same proximity fosters the "meet cute" between the two when the woman plays "spot the prostitute" with one of her friends when they're at lunch, because guess who she spots.

In the middle of all this contrivance, prior to being spotted at lunch with a client, the hooker flirts with the woman by approaching her with a haircomb, asking if she dropped it. When the woman says no, the hooker tries to give it to her anyway. Much later in the movie, when they are in the midst of their scheme to trap the husband, the woman accepts the gift of the comb, and when she does, the hooker tells her it was her mother's. (This matters later, of course.)

The hooker tells the woman of her trysts with the husband, which inexplicably get the woman so turned on she eventually sleeps with the hooker (which was the hooker's plan all along you see). And, as "gay theory" tries to tell us, all of us are really this ---><--- close to sleeping with someone of the same gender, if only the situation were to present itself, so of course they boff.

I'll spare you the rest in case you might want to watch the flick anyway, but most of all to just simply spare you. Let's just say hilarity ensues, and the hooker dives out of a window when she realizes the woman won't join her forever as her mother-slash-lover. (Again, ick.)

But I need to tell you this: the final sequence shows the woman having one of her grand parties, during which a dramatic closeup reveals that she's wearing the hooker's mother's comb. This is supposed to be a SIGNIFICANT MOMENT.

I was torn between screaming like Sam Kinison (may he rest in peace) or rolling my eyes to heaven with such force that they would stick that way. I've trained myself to set down the remote during a movie I don't like (unless I'm fast-forwarding) so I reactively don't throw it at the end.

I did dig the soundtrack, though. I've noted I don't really associate the music with the movie, so I now have another disc of ambient / background music for writing and such. Yay.

Ebert had warned me about Kick-Ass, but sometimes he and I don't agree, and it is a super-hero movie - in theory. Peter Travers, my other go-to critic, liked it for the same reasons Ebert didn't.

I didn't like it. I really didn't like it.

Sorry, but seeing an 11-year-old girl, no matter the context, beaten bloody by an adult who then attempts to execute her (she's saved at the last moment) falls wuh-haaay outside of my comfort zone, and crashes my suspension of disbelief like Islamic truck bomber. Most "Child in peril" doesn't float with me, but when it's purposeful violence doled out by an adult, I just can't....

I didn't like the otherwise spellbinding Pan's Labyrinth for much the same reason.

That said, it may have worked as a cartoon. After all, the Powerpuff Girls was essentially that very thing. Hell, the devil was even one of the villains.

The premise of the movie is that this is the real world where no one really has super powers, so that might have been behind the artistic decision to go live-action. (Apologies for the tortured grammar; no time to fixy fixy today.) Yet the source material was a comic, so I still think it would've been better that way.

If you're an older teen (it's rated R, for the record) who won't be bothered by this plot element, you might like the thing, but anyone past 25 and anyone with kids will want to find better things to do with their time. Like go see Inception.


Anonymous said...

I also saw the child-in-peril angle here, but I think this film gets a pass. After all, this particular 11-yo girl is hardly a helpless damsel in distress. She has already offed a couple dozen grown men, using swords, guns, kicks to the face, butterfly knives, and various other implements of destruction. She does this with cold efficiency and no trace of remorse. And no apparent concern about whether some of the guys swept up in her rampages might actually be innocent dudes who just happened to be in the wrong place. Really, if any kid can ever *deserve* to be executed, it's got to be her.

The moral problem with the film isn't the kid-in-peril angle. It's the kid-as-psycho angle. Just like Hard Candy, wherein Ellen Page showed her acting chops as a 15-yo predator. Both films have their merits, but also have really major moral problems.

Just my .02's worth.


yahmdallah said...