So here is an interesting dilemma. You are becoming a big star, you name is Whoopi Goldberg. You are looking for a few good roles to get your name bigger. What project do you choose? How about a film project called "The Telephone". The concept sounds interesting right? A woman flounces around her apartment, gibbering into a phone. Occasionally she is interrupted by people at the door. But here's there catch. Whoopi NEVER leaves that apartment. Think about how interesting, how groundbreaking that would be to capture the essence of her popular one-woman shows and get it into a film. So we the filmgoers can see Whoopi's talents and get a little taste of what it's like to see the comedienne in full possession of her craft. Cool idea right?Well ... it isn't. It sucks and this film is unwatchable. But here's the plot. Whoopi Goldberg plays Vashti Blue (Vashti was the name of a character in a Charlotte Bronte novel), an out-of-work actress who is looking for a break.
The beginning of the film is kinda cute. She comes home to her apartment, says hello to her pet owl and goldfish and then soaks her feet with her goldfish in the tub with her. Then she nearly looses her fish down the drain but manages to plunge it out. This is mildly amusing but then she gets on the phone........... And she stays on the phone.................... Talking and talking. She gabs to her agent about the work she wants, what she needs to do to get her career going, etc.
Then I guess the only way you could describe the rest of the film's conversations is to say that each one of them is completely meaningless (at least that's what I gathered from this mess). The conversations consist of Whoopi going on and on about everything and nothing. I guess it's supposed to be funny. And this is what makes up 98% of the film.
I cannot explain to you any other kind of storyline for this film because there isn't any story. I don't think. Unless I just didn't get the 'deep meaning to it all' or the hilariously quirky mode of 'off-the-wall film making' that was taking place.
I have heard someone say that they kind of enjoyed The Telephone and that they saw it as being akin to that of live theater. Come on. That's an insult even to bad community theater. This film is just relentlessly shrill and obnoxious. I didn't laugh once. (If that's what was intended.) I found it all to be ridiculously staged and considering that it revolved around one woman the film doesn't bother to throw any camera tricks to flash it up a bit. Oddly enough, the film was directed by Rip Torn. Yes, it was directed by Rip Torn. (Who most recently played Gordy Brody's dad in Freddy Got Fingered. A better film.)
The Telephone was one of those films that I had seen clips of here and there on cable all the time but never bothered to actually sit through the damn thing until at long last, after years of being curious, I finally rented it last year and actually made myself sit through it. What a nightmare that was! And now that I have endured this monstrosity I figure that I had better make sure that I warn any bored fans of Whoopi Goldberg who are looking for a past film of hers to watch. My suggestion is this. Go rent any other film of hers BUT THIS ONE! Oh yeah and add T-Rex to that suggestion and you might be alright. I think...
P.S. The final scene of the film has one of the most ridiculous moments which only makes the whole thing that more retarded.
P.P.S. Whoopi Goldberg pleaded with the producers of The Telephoneand filed a lawsuit to try and stop this film from getting released in theaters after she saw the finished product. Can anyone blame her?Headline: A strange attempt at a one-woman show directed for the screen fails miserably and now it rots in the half-off bin at your local Dollar Video store. 1/2 Star