Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Easily one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life, Amy Heckerling's shrill and utterly retarded "romantic-comedy" I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN (ZERO STARS) was a ghastly viewing experience from start to finish. Heckerling, who in her glory days was best known for directing the classic teen sex-comedy FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (from a script by Cameron Crowe) and writing and directing the brilliant Los Angeles satire CLUELESS, hasn't had much luck of late; her last film before this ungainly mess was 2000's wipe-out LOSER, which was also pretty terrible. She's also responsible for creating the LOOK WHO'S TALKING franchise, which were hardly high-art, but were certainly mainstream successes. How she could become this hit-or-miss as a filmmaker remains a mystery to me. How she could have made a film as awful as I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN is also a little perplexing because on paper, the premise had potential. The fact that this film went straight to DVD last year was a sign of its incompetence, but I was tempted to rent it after Dick Roeper named it as his "video pick of the week" on Ebert & Roeper. I will never listen to that tool again.

The film centers around an older, sexy television producer named Rosie (Michelle Pfeiffer) who starts a romantic relationship with the younger, good-looking new star of her show named Adam (Paul Rudd). Her teenage daughter Izzie (Saoirse Ronan) is also navigating her first romance with a boy in her school. Tracey Ullman turns up playing "Mother Nature," who meddles with both relationships and has a continuing dialogue with Rosie about the pro's and con's of dating a younger man. Along the way are a shit-ton of dated, lame inside-Hollywood jokes with celebrity name-dropping galore, to no end, and with no purpose other than to name-drop. It's all pretty embarrassing. Heckerling also takes shots at plastic surgery, botox, dating life in Los Angeles, the television industry, and the many sexual and emotional differences between young and older women. And every single one of Heckerling's jokes falls flat. Her satire is toothless, there are zero sparks between Pfieffer and Rudd, and the movie is just flat-out ugly looking (Brian Trufano's hideous lighting isn't helped by his lazy compositions). The only thing that's persuasive about I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN is the notion that Pfeiffer is still one beautiful actress; she's aged like a fine wine. And Rudd, an actor who has been so good so often, simply flounders in this goofy role; it's a career low-point for him.

So why did I even finish watching this disaster? Great question. The answer is that I couldn't turn it off. I wanted too but I couldn't. I just needed to see how bad it would get by its conclusion. Watching bad movies is healthy for the movie-watching soul; not everything needs to be or should be a masterpiece, and watching bad movies can sometimes be fun. But when a film is as pathetic as I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN, you have to wonder what everyone was feeling and thinking as they were making it. Did Heckerling honestly think that she was making something of any tangible quality? Produced by one of the biggest schiesters in the business, Elie Samaha (go here for a laugh:, I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Truly. I laughed in an honest way maybe three times and there were maybe one or two scenes that legitimately worked. What happened to Heckerling? Where did her bite and sting go? She could have made a great comedy with this material but everything -- and I mean everything -- backfired on this one. The film feels like Heckerling's angry response to a Hollywood culture obsessed with the new and young and fresh, and clearly demonstrates that while she may have been a force 20 years ago, she's no longer a major comedy player in today's movie landscape. I honestly wonder if she'll make another feature.


Wayne said...

Oh, buddy. Never, EVER listen to Roeper. A couple of weeks ago, he was a guest on "Top Chef" and they introduced him as "world renowned film critic" Richard Roeper. I never laughed so hard in my life. Ebert, he ain't. Hell, Earl Dittman he ain't.

Actionman said...

Ha! Love the Earl Dittman joke!

Roeper is hardly what I'd even consider a "critic" but he does make some good picks now and then and overall, his sensibilites line up with mine a lot of the time. Not all the time but most of the time.

Having said that, after reccommending this turgid piece of cow-flop posing as a movie, I am not sure how seriously I can take him any more.

Wayne said...

Well, I'll clarify....he makes a good pick here and there, as any person off the street would do, which is essentially what Roeper is....just some doofus that likes movies whose office was probably down the hall from Ebert's at the Sun Times at just the moment when Roger needed someone.

What has it been...ten years? I miss Siskel.

Actionman said...

Listen, I agree with you. As far as I'm concerned, if Roeper is on that show, I should be on it as well. The guy was a pop-culture writer for the Sun Times before he started writing movie reviews on the side and getting on the tv show.

A.O. Scott and Manhola Dargis from the NY Times should have their own show.

Wayne said...

Agree 100% on Scott and Dargis. Those two along with Ebert are my favorite of the non-blogger film critics.

Actionman said...

In total agreement on those three.

I also love reading David Denby, though don't agree with him often. Anthony Lane is smart, maybe too smart/analytical to be a film critic.

Nobody touches Ebert in terms of passion for the medium.

I was a huge fan of Janet Maslin when I was in highschool.