This is going to be a long one, people. Buckle in.
OK so some people would say “don’t have high expectations for a Jessica Simpson film”, to which I say – maybe I won’t have high expectations if Joe Simpson, Producer and Hollywood Dad of Note, doesn’t call his daughter’s film “a great moment for America”, nor comment on the generous size of Jessica’s norks.
But getting into it. This film was a big success in the Ukraine. In the USA it only made about $2,000 and only in Texas. This was a movie I obviously had to see and decide for myself.
It starts with Jessica Simpson’s protagonist character. I don’t know what her name is. Let’s call her Ashlee, cos that’s the Simpson sister we’d all prefer to see on screen. Ashlee lives in a small town in bumfuck nowhere and works in her Uncle’s shop. Her Uncle is played by Willie Nelson and we can all see the panic in his eyes at being involved in this venture. Anyway it’s set up that Ashlee is a beautiful kind soul who does beautiful kind things for people – like when the hot guy (by country town standards, at least) asks her out, she suggests he slums it with the Ugly Girl. Cos she is a nice person, and also because she has a Hot’n'Sexy Boy Meat of her own to go home to.
Let’s call this guy Sir Jerkington. We know he’s going to be a grade-A jerk because they’re childhood sweethearts and he wants to be an actor and we know those guys are bad news, and also his eyeline is always way off in the distance when it’s time for intimate scenes with Jessica which we know is NOT good boyfriend material. A good boyfriend LOOKS INTO THOSE BEAUTIFUL EYES or at least sizes up the tit.
Anyway Sir Jerkington tells Ashlee he’s off to New York to try his hand at becoming a star. Ashlee decides to follow him, because it’s Valentines Day, so she gets a bus to New York and is overwhelmed by the BIG CITY LIGHTS and then gets a New York taxi and – har har har – the driver has a CRAZY foreign name and she can’t even pronounce it! We also learn one of Ashlee’s delightful “comedy quirks”, probably something specified in Robert McKee’s ‘Story’ because this shit is so formulaic it could be done underwater, and her comedy quirk is that she chews on toothbrushes when she’s nervous. Yes. That’s really what they came up with. Elia Kazan must be rolling in his grave.
So Ashlee sneaks into Jerkington’s apartment in New York to surprise him and OF COURSE he is in bed with some hot sexy supermodel type, even though we find out he’s just been working as a hand model this whole time. There’s a whole lot of disdain shown towards hand models in the next ten minutes which I’d prefer not to talk about because those people have beautiful manicured hands; as someone with mangled writers’ nails they give me something to strive for, so maybe Blonde Ambition should just LAY the fuck OFF. There’s a delightful moment when Ashlee gets into bed with him AND the supermodel, without realising there’s another girl in the bed, and then the girl’s hands start touching Ashlee, and we’re all like “YAWHAAA shit is getting INTERESTING” but of course they nip that whiff of a threesome right in the bud before there’s the chance of any interesting engagement with this movie.
So Ashlee is devo’d.
She loved Jerkington so much. How could he do this to her? She is so doe-eyed and pouty and hurt that I don’t know where to look. She decides to just fucking embrace New York as a hot sassy single lady who’s only ever had silent vanilla sex with the same man, and she starts SEXING SHIT UP! My television does this thing where it stretches out torsos, and so when Ashlee does the Marilyn Monroe air vent montage, shit gets REAL.
Ashlee finds her wonderful friend, Cliche, who is a proper indie actor who does things like hang out with no-hoper creative types who are into method acting and she works as a Courier in her spare time. Cliche calls Jerkington “a worthless d-bag” – yes, those words exactly – and then tells Ashlee she needs to cover her Courier shift tomorrow cos she has an important audition, for like a Martin Crimp play or maybe a Tampax commercial.
INSERT HILARIOUS FISH OUT OF WATER MONTAGE! This shit is so heinous I don’t even want to talk about it, except it’s meant to show us how big and scary the city is – particularly if you’re a gullible artless hick – and it introduces us to NEW LOVE INTEREST Luke Wilson! He pulls Ashlee out of the literal and non-metaphorical trench she falls into (don’t even ask) and then offers to give her a shiatsu massage because “I had a Japanese room mate once”.
Can I just say Ashlee is the worst courier I’ve ever seen. I’m a freelance playwright and I’d do a better job than her. But she somehow finds her way to her next drop-off point, which is in a reeeaaaally tall office building, and gets to the front desk of the receptionist, who we’ll call Racial Joke. Racial Joke is a large African American woman who for some reason is the butt of the following jokes: someone tells her to “take your paws off me”; she’s referred to as “Big Momma’s House”; she’s also called “guard dog Betty”. Basically the first non-white and non-svelte person in the film is called a dog and a fatso right off the bat. Nice work, Joe Simpson.
Anyway boring boring boring; the main plot of the movie develops which goes a bit like this: There’s a company! It has a boss! He has 2 employees who want to be the boss, and not him! Is this an adaptation of Julius Caesar, cos at least that story had some stabbing! The 2 employees see Ashlee being a blonde hick in their Reception and think – HEY, we should use this blonde hick to be our new Receptionist and we can twist her ear to make her do whatever we want her to, and she can bring down the company from the inside without even knowing, and that’ll cause the Board to fire our boss, and then WE WILL BE THE BOSSES AND TOUCH EACH OTHERS’ GONADS IN JOOOOOOYYYYY”
Good news is that I found out Jessica Simpson’s character name. It is Katie Gregersnitch.
In the meantime Ms Gregersnitch keeps bumping into Romantic Interest – first in that ditch, and now as a mailman in the office! (Oh cos she got the job and has a swish new New York wardrobe to match it). And she’s all “ARE YOU STALKING ME” and he’s secretly like “YES” but out loud is like “I WANK TO YOU EVERY NIGHT” but Katie doesn’t even notice this cos she’s still thinking about Sir Jerkington and sighing in a gross guttural way he never would have elicited from her in any of their previous bedroom encounters.
So the ‘boss sabotage’ plot continues to limp along. Katie organises a cowboy party for some new client, which the 2 evil employees fuck up by inviting a Stripper! Har har how CRAZY! Shall we also call this person a Dog and a Fatso? Oh no, he’s still white and thin, so he deserves our respect. Anyway the Stripper strides into the party dressed as a Cop and announces “you have the right to remain silent…and we have the right to take our clothes off!” And we all know Joe Simpson is weeing himself in hurrumphes even though if he’d actually announced “we have the right to remain sexy”, you woulda got a genuine giggle out of me.
So we’re about 45 minutes into the movie and I still have no idea what industry these people work in. They keep mentioning ‘contracts’ and ‘options’ and ‘filing’ a lot, and occasionally chucking in “The Marina Project” but I just wouldn’t have the foggiest what’s going on. All we know is Katie is getting more confident in her role – like she can file folders really well now, and she bakes her boss Pigs in a Blanket, and entertains some Norwegian Priests in a low cut dress (not even joking), so bitch works shit out.
And then suddenly Romantic Interest shows up at Katie’s door with New York pizza and beer, and they get all sexy about New York pizza, unbuttoning their bulging jeans and dancing with their pants baggy around their guts, and then they kiss and her lagoon of lipgloss stays in place, and she makes a dumb post-kiss fishface and then OH NO WILLIE NELSON IS HERE! He wants to check his next generation of Gregersnitch is OK! He wants to make sure she’s still in love with Sir Jerkington! She needs to pretend Romantic Interest is the Plumber! The only noise I can make to do this justice is: HOOOOOORRRRKKKK!
Anyway. Whatever. Next day back at work and BOSS HAS BEEN DEPOSED! This leaves Cassius and Brutus in charge – Brutus is played by Andy Dick in supreme campitude, and Cassius is played by some faceless blond lady who’s doing the best work she can with her material. Like, despite her awful lines, we get a lot of emotion from her face – we understand that while she might be a successful Dragon Lady in her career, she definitely sobs really guturally in the shower every single morning before work.
Blah blah blah work work work – Katie tries to use her powers to fix stuff at work – she fails – Willie Nelson suggests she goes back home with him – she considers it – then she doesn’t – her and Luke Wilson fight the system – they use Cliche and her band of Viewpoints-trained actors to play a fake group of investors – blah blah blah – there’s a whole stupid sub-plot about Cassius holding the title to Willie Nelson’s shop – no one cares – and then SHOWDOWN!
Cassius versus Katie versus Brutus versus Racial Joke. Brutus calls Racial Joke “a damned dirty ape” and no one’s even surprised any more. A whole series of flailing cat fights break out where Katie finally gathers enough courage to call Cassius the Word That is the Worst Word in the World:
And here’s my problem with this film. It relies on all the most ill-developed and stereotypical tropes to mine cheap laughs. It pits woman vs woman. Man vs woman. Black vs white. Gay vs black (yeah, what?). It suggests smart women are evil and want to bring other women down. It suggests the most a young girl should strive for is “sweetness” and help from a man hero. Everything about this movie is SO AWFUL SO SO AWFUL and there’s not even an Ashlee Simpson in there to redeem it.
My friend Olivia commented: “man, this is a white film”. My friend Edmund commented, “did Luke Wilson have an operation to pay for or something?” The only good thing about this film is that there are no Jessica Simpson songs in it until right at the end where, over the kiss scene so lacking in charisma that they need to photoshop in sparkles, some shitty dirge is vommed out of her glossed up head-anus.
Don’t see it. Don’t see it. Don’t see it.
Did you enjoy this special SHITTY SHITTY MOVIE edition of WJLI? If so, you might want to come to Canberra to check out this.