August 9, 2004

The New Jerusalem

Oh fine readers, Cinecultist comes not to bury Little Black Book, Brittany Murphy's new rom com out this past weekend, but to praise it. And before you click over to one of the fine links on the sidebar in a damn hurry, give us a second here to make our case. First off, disregard the lame tag line and any sort of trailer you may have seen -- it doesn't do this film justice.

Where the story may sound from the premise like it's going to be hysterical and retrograde -- girl investigates boy's exes --, it actually comes out swinging for women's autonomous identity and their value without a relationship. CC likes it when rom com's pander to our feminism. Where Brittany Murphy's knobby knees and sometime skankiness make CC want to poke her with a sharp stick, here she won us over. Plus, the movie has Carly Simon in it. And Carly Simon rocks. "You're so vain. You probably think this post is about you, dontcyou, dontchyou!"

Brittany's character, Stacy loves Carly because that's the music her mother used to listen to when things got too chaotic in her life. Stacy on the other hand, sings Carly songs in the echoing bathroom and loves the Carly track from her favorite movie Working Girl, "Let The River Run," it's her theme song. Like the tennis shoe clad Tess McGill from Staten Island, Stacy too has a dream -- to work for Diane Sawyer. But for now, she works at the Kippie Kahn Do show as an associate producer in New Jersey and practically lives with her boyfriend Derek (Ron Livingstone). All seems to be going swimmingly until Derek let's slip out the supermodel former girlfriend and Stacy's co-worker (Holly Hunter) convinces her to "look under the hood before buying the car."

CC went to see this movie last Friday as a part of our "See Crap on Friday Afternoons" program and we did have excessively low expectations for it. But what surprised us about this movie was the devoted cinephilia, the introspective monologues and the fact that it ends not with a romantic triumph but a career one. Any time a silly rom com takes the road less traveled, CC finds that reason to celebrate. It's so easy for Hollywood to go with the formula and reinforce women's fears about dying alone half eaten by wild dogs. That's why we need sly movies like this, which seem to be about one thing, but really are about Carly Simon theme songs and living your dream.

Thus Cinecultist proscribes putting said theme song on your iPod and listening to it while storming off to work. It does wonders for the complexion.

Posted by karen at August 9, 2004 10:02 AM