Slap Her, She's French
*.5 BM
Starring: Jane McGregor, Piper Perabo, Michael McKean, Trent Ford, Nicki Lynn Aycox, Alexandra Adi

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There ain't a lot more painful than an unfunny movie that thinks it's hilarious. Add in a lot of forced quirkiness and "hopefully-biting-but-really-only-toothless-gumming" satire, and you've got this boring mess of a film.

The lame story is thus: Starla Grady (McGregor) is a tremendous Texas bitch and really into fake-nice fronts so much that her life's greatest wish is to be one of those awful morning show hosts. She is head cheerleader, most-popular-but-secretly-most-hated, dating the football captain, and a consistent pageant-winner to boot. But, zoiks, she's failing French for some inexplicable reason, because she puts psychotic energy into being the best at everything else and yet she's a bored sloth in this class! Go figure! So as she reluctantly promised in her Beef Pageant win, her family plays host to a French foreign exchange student named Genevieve LaPlouff (Perabo) that seems to be falling at her feet, but has a secret agenda to completely take over Starla's life.

Problem number one: Pageant freaks are the easiest targets in the world - even easier than the Dog Show freaks from Best In Show. Any mocking of these people comes across as obvious and redundant, since they are all walking parodies of humanity anyway. Problem number two: All of the attempted satire, while trying to be a sort of Scissorhandsish stylized parody of suburban values, etc., comes across as weak, forced and humorless. Problem number three: It was about two thirds of the way through the movie when I realized that the filmmakers actually expected me to give a shit about Starla getting her life ruined. If ever a life needed ruining, it belongs to this idiot, and thus I was surprised to discover that I was supposed to be rooting for this robotic hackneyed caricature perhaps simply because there was a French person out to destroy her, and everyone hates the French. In fact, that's most likely the reason there's even a French theme - the screenwriting cabal needed some way to make an overbearing Texas bitch seem likeable, so they pitted her against a sneaky French bitch. Sorry, kids, it don't work. Why don't you try following up on a subplot or two?

McGregor's performance of the material that wants her to be satirically over-the-top only succeeds in being obnoxious. Michael McKean's presence is mystifying, since they continually refer to him as being excessively hairy when he isn't at all. Everyone else sucks. Perabo, however, has the best role as the underhanded deviant passing herself off as innocent and naive, and she fills it decently, but her part unravels when her big secret is revealed to be pretty stupid.

I can count my chuckles during this "comedy" on one finger.

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