High- and low-brow cultural goings-on in the Second City, brought to you by a roving microtechnoanthropologist

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Friday, August 06, 2004

Not THE Catwoman, A Catwoman

At the risk of incurring K's eternal wrath, I have to cop to the fact that my laptopless state drove us to the movies Wednesday night and, as the pickings are slim, we wound up seeing Catwoman.

Halle Berry---hmm, what can I say? I think I've only seen her in X-Men movies (in which she sucks) and as the Bond Girl, where, well, she was a Bond Girl. She doesn't suck here. At least not uniformly. Make no mistake, she sucks as "a" Catwoman (the distinction is M's to preserve sanity), but as Patience Phillips, she's kind of cute and charming.

Her friends at work are amusing, even if they are just a complicated explanation for why in the hell this fashion nightmare has a leather suit in the back of her closet. In addition, it's great to see Alex Borstein play a woman who is clearly meant to be seen as attractive, despite her rotundity (I mean, she must be all of a size 12!). Actually, if there's any subtlety in the movie at all or any message that's worth sending, it's simply casting a number of women who are attractive in a variety of ways.

Benjamin Bratt was also not bad during the "falling for Patience" parts of the film. Everything goes tits up on their first real date (when Halle's already adopted her disturbingly Dionne Warwick hair), and he doesn't seem to know how to play off her new Patience/Catwoman hybrid. Not sure we can blame him, though, as Halle doesn't seem to know what the fuck she's doing there either.

Sharon Stone as villain is a big check in the Not So Good column, again, not because she's phoning it in, but the writing is just crap. They don't sell the whole "invulnerability" storyline in any way shape or form and the heavy-handed sisterhood storyline is more or less undermined by something so entirely pathetic as "younger woman done stole my man, guess I'll uglify all American women in retaliation."

The effects are rotten and their rottenness is, I think, complicated by the fact that they have Halley sprayed with this weird orangey-gold body glitter that makes her look fake, so you can't tell when the CGI ends and live action begins. The end result is that many run-of-the-mill scenes wind up looking like cheap effects.

Some of the fights are cool. The martial art they chose is quite well-suited to her body type, but the cat crap iz pastede on not yay. But cool-looking or no, in general, there's no point to the fights (or to many of the scenes, really) and other feats of daring. It's just a bunch of Look! Keen! scenes strung together.

It's not completely without amusement. It won't burn you if you rent it on DVD or something. It is absolutely necessary to remind yourself that this is a story about A Catwoman---you may want to find a lead-lined box for Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, and Lee Merriweather, though there's little chance of this bringing them to mind, you don't want to risk contamination.

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