16 March 2002 | rmax304823
Apple of Discord
I wonder how many times we've seen this movie in one or another guise. They usually have names like "The Babysitter," "Seduction of the Babysitter," "The Girl Next Door," "The Crush," "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle", or something like that. The plot is generic. A juicy young woman comes into proximity with an utterly bourgeois family, insinuates herself, and befouls the family dynamics. A deletion here, a switch of identities there, a minor substitution -- but the underlying theme remains the same. If Claude Levi-Strauss hadn't wasted his time on Tsimshian myths, he could have done a delightful number on films like this.
One can understand why, in this case, the husband might feel a certain attraction for the ever-so-available young woman. Stephanie Zimbalist is a delight to watch. She's not only beautiful, she moves well too. Women, through no fault of their own, generally run as if they were mimicking the most flamboyant kind of homosexual. But Stephanie Zimbalist has real momentum and comes in only slightly behind Emma Peel in "The Avengers." Her bosom is enticingly small which, in this case, only reinforces the impression of sinewy athleticism.
These kinds of movies are easy to watch. They go down like pablum. And it's so easy to ignore the finer points of the plot while imagining dandling Stephanie or Alicia or Rebecca on an avuncular knee. And there really is little downside. The nuclear families to begin with are so dull, so unimaginative, so happy with themselves, that a bit of a nudge is in order anyway. It's a male fantasy from beginning to end, and not badly done if one cares for such things.