April 6, 2003

What This Girl Wants

What this girl wants on a lazy Sunday at the beginning of April, is a little Colin Firth, some sassy “girl power” and some cute fashions on said sassy girl. Lucky me, What a Girl Wants (2003, Dennie Gordon) is playing down the street. Amanda Bynes of various Nickelodeon programming and now a WB sitcom with Jennie Garth, plays the aforementioned girl, just a sweet bohemian downtown New Yorker, who’s mom, Libby (Kelly Preston) met a titled Englishman in Morocco, Henry (Firth) and fell in love. Except the powers-that-be in his stuffy politico family sent Libby packing and so she raised her daughter, Daphne on her own. At 17, Daph decides to take off for London to find her father and hopefully, herself in the process. This movie is really about the favorite Hollywood convention: the swinging hip American versus the stuffy, emotionally shut-off but rich nonetheless Brits. Everyone plays their clichés to the hilt, particularly Firth with his oddly Hugh Grant circa-Four Weddings and a Funeral fussy stuttering. Bynes comes across as likeable and natural, despite the moments of physical comedy having a wannabe Lucille Ball pratfall-ishness to them. The camera in this movie loves to see Bynes fall flat on her ass and then jump cut to her shiny brunette head popping back up, no worse for the wear. An attempt at comedy in editing, I suppose. Watching the movie set me to ruminating on Kelly Preston, as in, has this woman ever turned in a good performance? How does she stay in the movie industry, on her flaxen head and odd L.Ron-Hubbard-loving marriage to John Travolta alone? In the scenes between her and the otherwise passable other actors in the picture, she practically sucks the thespian right out of them. A quick search on her filmography, care of IMDB, reveals that perhaps her best cinematic moment was yelling at Tom Cruise to “never stop fucking me” in Jerry Maguire, because prior, its Addicted to Love, Jack Frost and Battlefield Earth as far as the eye can see.

Posted by karen at April 6, 2003 3:36 PM