The ambitious Betsy is happy: she gets promoted to a leading management position. Her happiness is spoiled only a little by problems with a boyfriend who feels neglected and an harassing bos... Read allThe ambitious Betsy is happy: she gets promoted to a leading management position. Her happiness is spoiled only a little by problems with a boyfriend who feels neglected and an harassing boss. She realizes much too late that her secretary Norma is after her job and step by step t... Read allThe ambitious Betsy is happy: she gets promoted to a leading management position. Her happiness is spoiled only a little by problems with a boyfriend who feels neglected and an harassing boss. She realizes much too late that her secretary Norma is after her job and step by step tries to ruin her career and private life.
The plot, you've seen before in one or another guise. One woman, envious of another's beauty and success, begins to imitate her, seduces her estranged lover, and goes nuts and turns into a slasher or something. In my humble opinion the best version is "Single White Female" simply because we got to see so much of Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Lee.
This is a chick flick par excellence. There is a scene in which the newly hired executive, Locklear, sends her assistant, Purl, to Locklear's apartment to fetch some important item that had been forgotten at home. Purl enters the apartment and we find out for the first time that there is more to her than the simple role of helpful assistant. She creeps around Locklear's place, fingering the furniture, going through the drawers, reading the address book, examining the photos, lying on the bed. The scene is a perfect expression of two chiefly feminine fantasy roles. (1) The victim. Poor Locklear is hard at work in her office while a stranger uncovers her private life. (2) The snoop. Oh, how we love finding out someone else's secrets. And then there's Purl's treachery, insinuating herself into the busy Locklear's agenda. The afternoon soaps seem to be filled with these Iago-like female figures.
I don't mean to be insulting in calling it a chick flick. But that's the audience it's aimed at, and it's the writer's deliberate decision. The men are clumsy stereotypes. They don't speak or act like men. They speak and act like women. The dialogue is enough to turn your brain into creme brulee. First man: "So how are you doing with Bitsy?" Second man: "Well, we're having some problems." First man: "You need some space." Second: "She's the only one I want." First: "You need to get some perspective, pal. Believe me, there are some real lookers out there." Later on Locklear and estranged boyfriend have a chat that goes something like: "We need to talk." "Yes, I've been thinking things over. We need to talk." "Would you like to come in and talk?"
Note to writers: Men don't TALK like that. Not if they're straight, anyway. Oh, there is one obvious straight guy in this movie, Edward Albert, who represents another kind of stereotype, the chauvinist uncaring boss. He's reptilian in his evilhood. He seems to have undergone a hair transplant and chin tuck somewhere along the line, calls his women colleagues and subordinate "honey," comes on to Locklear one night when they're alone at the office. She spurns his advances of course. Later he chastizes her at a meeting and tells her, "Believe me, honey, if you can't pull your pantyhose down in this business you'd damn well better keep them pulled up." (It's okay, though, because he gets a well-deserved lobotomy with a crystal paperweight at the end.)
Locklear's estranged boyfriend doesn't have much of a role. He's handsome but you can tell with one look that he's not going to "be there" for Locklear when she needs him. He's too pensive, too tired. And that's understandable, what with his having had to say lines like, "You're not here with me now. You're still back in that office. Maybe it's time to give it a rest."
After a couple of murders Purl goes berserk and at the climax there is a fight in the empty office building between her and Locklear. The two blondes in their tiny skirts roll bloodlessly over and over each other on the carpet. This is clearly the best part of the movie. It's not only wryly sexual but it's relaxing at the same time because there isn't one piece of information given to us in the scene that wasn't completely predictable. Does Locklear have a pair of scissors to defend herself against the raving paper-weight-wielding Purl? Do the scissors get knocked out of her hand? Is there an insert shot of the scissors bouncing away along the floor? Does Locklear make a grab for the scissors? Does Purl manage to prevent Locklear's hand from reaching the scissors? Is there a UFO conspiracy to subjugate the planet Earth?
Maybe it's time to give it a rest.
- Mar 6, 2004