Saturday, March 6, 2010

Worst of the Worst: #50, Dirty Love

In the last season of 30 Rock, there was a series of episodes where Jon Hamm guest-starred as Liz's love interest. She eventually broke up with him when she realized that he was incredibly stupid, but got away with it because of his looks. No matter what he did, people just said he was right or smart or talented. This must be the story of Jenny McCarthy's life.

McCarthy wrote and starred in Dirty Love, the #50 movie on Rotten Tomatoes' list of the worst movies of the last decade. She became famous in Playboy, but got her mainstream start as the co-host of MTV's Singled Out. She left to get her own not-so-good sketch comedy show on MTV, replaced by Carmen Electra who co-starred in this movie (it should be noted that Electra stars in every single last entry of the ____ Movie franchise). Hmm, what else? I remember her being not particularly funny in Baseketball. Anyways, she parlayed a lot of entertainment execs nodding agreement to her contracts while not exactly staring into her eyes into the opportunity to get a movie made of her script. Now, I can't find anywhere how much it cost to make this movie and my impression is that it didn't cost much. But "not much" by movie standards is still potentially quite a bit. Great low, low, low-budget movies Swingers and Halloween cost $200,000 and $300,000 to make, respectively. Dirty Love opened on forty-four screens (because the advance word-of-mouth was so bad) and made $23,281 in its opening weekend. It stayed open (on only two of those screens) for one more weekend. When it made $822. No, I didn't miss a comma there.

McCarthy's script is bad. I don't just mean in the way that there are no laughs -- not one -- in the entire movie. I mean in the way that there are glaring errors in verb tense and pronoun use. It's not slang; the grammar is noticeably wrong. Besides that, it's racist (Electra's prolific acting chops are put to use in a white character that inexplicably acts as stereotypically black as possible to the point that it comes off as a minstrel show) and anti-Semitic (two movie execs with big noses, glasses, and New York accents, are compared to Woody Allen). It's a gross-out movie that includes graphic scenes of vomit, sex, and a menstruation "joke" that a thirteen-year-old wouldn't find funny. Thanks to the over-the-top script, even a talented comic actor like Guillermo Diaz is forced to play over-the-top and comes out looking the worse for it. The attention to detail is so poor that at one point a sign on a studio audition room reads "Quite Please". I shit you not. I only wish I could find a picture of it.

Much like with my review of The New Guy, where I lamented Zooey Deschanel's inclusion in the movie, I lament here Eddie Kaye Thomas as the guy who is in love with McCarthy's character but she won't see it. Thomas was very good in American Pie and he and David Krumholtz together were great in Harold and Kumar. Of the people in this movie, he's the only one who looks like he's trying (or capable) at all. He also doesn't fit because he plays a peer to McCarthy but he's actually eight years younger than she is. And, look, she's very pretty, but it's obvious. Aside from him (and he couldn't do anything with that script), the acting is exactly what you would expect when you let a bunch of Playmates star in a movie. When porn stars have bit parts in mainstream movies like He Got Game, it is barely acceptable because of how bad they are. Build a movie around them? You can see how that goes.

Male gross-out comedies are huge. The Hangover was one of the biggest movies of last year, following in the footsteps of Old School, Anchorman, and even as far back as Animal House. I think we generally believe that the female counterpart to that type of movie is a romantic comedy, movies which mostly have little to no edge. I don't blame someone for trying to make a female gross-out comedy. Perhaps there's a market out there for that. Perhaps someone like Sarah Silverman could pull one off. If we're going to be blazing new trails, though, let's leave it to someone whose talent extends to above their shoulders.

No comments: