I wish I'd seen
Daddy Day Care because I just can't get enough of those gags
about kids with loose bowels. I saw the preview and there was a
gag about some little kid new to potty training who takes a shit
on the walls, the ceiling and everywhere else. That's comedy fucking
gold. It takes a very special screenwriter to put that sort of thing
into a script. I mean, that guy must be one hell of an prick to
think that's funny.
But Hollywood is full of special people.
People who work harder than anyone else to plumb the depths of the
common denominator and sell us whatever they scrape off the bottom.
Just when you think they can't go any lower in their efforts to
replace comedy with synthetic poopoo jokes, they do. They try just
a little harder to be unimaginative.
With Daddy Day Care at least you know
that it's only going to be lousy. That's better than what I got
with The Shape of Things, which was lousy, but also smug.
It's the kind of half-baked crapola that gives independent cinema
a bad name. Well, besides the annoying audience of Downtown is
so much better assholes who think that proximity to a Starbuck's
is just as good as personality.
I would have rather seen shit-flinging babies.
The Shape of Things was first a pretentious
play that snobs could go to and pat themselves on the back for watching.
Without having to do any deep thinking, they could pretend they
had been provoked. It's actually that calculated type of provocation
that is meant to make single-malt-drinking, tweed-wearing NPR cultists
feel they are sophisticated for not being offended while expecting
the unwashed masses to be. The value is in the assumption that someone
else will be offended by it. Being unwashed. I can say I wasn't
offended by the content, just the self-satisfied, lazy execution.
What a Goddamn waste of film stock. Really,
if I wanted to watch an asshole masturbate I'd put a mirror in my
bedroom. Writer-director Neil Labute has made two movies I liked
(In the Company of Men and Nurse Betty) and now he's
just wasting time and energy acting like a screaming two year old:
He wants attention, but he can't remember why anymore, just that
he wants it.
Paul Rudd plays a college student in the
same way that the cast of Beverly Hills 90210 played high
school students. Meaning, he looks closer to getting a 10% discount
at Wendy's than being 21. He's a doofus, chubby, gawky, nervous
and insecure until he meets the only college student who could possibly
be older than his, Rachel Weisz. She's a wild art student who, for
no reason the audience can see, likes Rudd. Similarly, why the fuck
Rudd likes her is a mystery. I wouldn't. She's a screechy, speechifying
pain in the ass. See, it's one of those bullshit movies where we
can't see the chemistry between the characters because there is
none. That's essential to the boffo, twist ending. We just have
to take our lumps for 90 minutes.
Weisz encourages Rudd to change his looks.
He loses weight, gets contact lenses, dumps his dorky clothes and
gets a nose job. As he becomes more attractive, he becomes more
confident. His old flame realizes she loves him. His best friend
becomes bitter that he can no longer ridicule him. Finally, Weisz
makes him choose between his friends and her. The big twist ending
is that Rudd has been Weisz's graduate thesis. She never loved him,
she just reshaped him to show how superficial society is. And we're
treated to her spending fifteen minutes explaining how superficial
society is. That's the movie's climax. The big twisteroo. Bor-fuck-ing.
Pre-fucking-dictable. It's someone giving us a morals lecture about
how Weisz can do this because there is no morality in art. Labute's
out from the rule his movie argues is that what he's made isn't
art. It's shit. I guess there can be morality in shit.
The movie fails so miserably because it's
not full of people. It's full of chess pieces with mouths. They
all talk a lot, but everything they is all Neil Labute's, arbitrarily
assigned to different mouths. The actions of the characters are
unlikely, the sympathetic characters are too shallow be worth giving
a goat's eighth tit about. Labute holds back almost all of the character
development or detail because he's so beholden to his big surprise
ending. The problem is, there are so many pieces missing that it's
pretty impossible not to spend your time figuring it out on your
Some movies feel like plays. This movie is
a fucking play, filmed outside. It's one of the most static and
speechy movies I've ever seen. Why the fuck turn the play into a
movie if you arenít going to take advantage of the medium? The action
is comprised entirely of characters walking from one spot to another
to finish their speeches.
You know when, a few days after an argument
with a friend, it's still going on in your head. You imagine that
your pal is so stupid he only says things to which you can respond
wittily and piercingly? Then, the next time you see your friend,
he turns out to be not as stupid as you hoped, and all the brilliant
retorts you stocked up are worthless? Well, The Shape of Things
is a compilation of the imagined responses: they are superficially
witty, but don't really answer the questions.
The acting in The Shape of Things
is over-the-top melodrama, just like in a play. That's because people
who go to plays love bad acting. They love Liza Minelli, Alan Cummings
and Joel Grey. They love when people become histrionic or traipse
around and moan. They use words like "delicious" to describe non-foods.
In movies, you're supposed to get closer to the people, and they
can act more realistically. Not here. Rudd's initial dorkiness is
unbelievably floppy and overdone. I spent 15 minutes thinking, "Fantastic!
The retarded guy's going to get laid." Weisz is badly one dimensional
in order to save her big secret. It makes no sense that anyone would
want to hang around her, let alone fall in love. Worst of all, these
people all recite their lines from rote. There's little emotion
or belief in what they're saying.
crap. It's worse than the worst Hollywood can make because it believes
it's so much better. I would have rather been at Daddy Day Care
because at least it would suck without talking down to me. Assholes
like Neil Labute should be reading high profile, artsy fartsy books
at Starbucks and overpriced bars, or even playhouses, but not clogging
up movie screens. One Finger for The Shape of Things.
to tell Filthy Something