She Gets What She Wants

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 10/04/02 06:23:56

"Indeed. Slap the crap out of her."
2 stars (Pretty Bad)

There's not a single moment in this film where anyone in the audience will believe that Piper Perabo's character in this film is French, and that's a shame since the entire premise of the film relies on everyone being sold on that idea. It's no spoiler to let you in on the secret that she's not all she seems to be - she's about as French as Cheez-Whiz. And this film has about as much substance as same.

Starla (Jane McGregor) is the girl most likely to walk on water at Splendona High School, Texas. Clinically mapping out her future so she can one day be a co-anchor on Good Morning America, Starla is in everything that can help her along - the cheerleading team, the school's internal newscasts, the local Miss Beef pageant, and of course she's a bitch. That is until one day when she pledges to the pageant audiece that her fmaily will be taking in a French foreign exchange student.

The student in question, Geneveive (Piper Perabo) is dull and unassuming but there's something strange about her... uh, could it be that she sounds about as French as John Elway? Geneveive slowly begins to take Starla's popularity place using devious means to shame her 'host' in front of the school and finally take her spot as queen bitch.

Which of course means for us, the viewers, we're watching a bitch being deposed by a bitch. Hmm, whom to cheer for?

Admittedly, Slap Her... She's French does become a real movie somewhere around the second act. When Geneveive's nasty side comes out and Starla starts flipping out, you begin to realize that there could indeed be a movie here. McGregor's performance closely parallels that of Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer - when she's being normal she's boring as hell, but when she loses the plot she's hysterical. Sadly, just like in The Wedding Singer, the flip-out is all too short and the solution all too easy.

You won't get bored trying to spot cliches in this film. The Texans are always chewing down a mouthfull of meat and they always jump up and cheer when God is mentioned, and a newspaper headline touting a 50% off sale on berets because of Geneveive's influence would be funny if it were... well, funny.

Another problem with this film is its tendency to follow that most heinous of Hollywood habits, the non-stop score. Those who have seen True Romance a number of times will undoubtedly remember thinking to themselves, "if this thing is set in Detroit and LA, why is there caribbean music right the way through it?" Well Slap Her... She's French is no different. In fact, they even use the exact same piece of music as True Romance does to end the thing!

True to the usual teen movie cliche, only the geeks can save the day, yet in this flick even the geeks seem to have trouble figuring out who to root for, so what chance does an audience have? Yes, it's funny in parts and there are some hints of a good flick underneath the easy punchlines and hinted at sub-plots, but for the most part this is a film that could have used another rewrite with maybe some attention given to providing one single redeeming quality in any female character in the film.

If you're going to go see it, make sure that the only reason you have for going is to see some teenage T&A, because that's really all there is on offer.

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