The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 14, 1994 - 11
'I'll Do Anything'
can't survive editing
By JOHN R. RYBOCK
If you've read any movie magazine published this past month, you must
have read something about "I'll Do Anything," the 'non-musical' musical.
Originally containing 11 songs, the film received such a bad test screening that
all but one were cut out. Those songs must have been pretty terrible, because
what is left, the actual film that surrounded them, is not that bad.
The main story follows Matt Hobbes (Nick Nolte), a talented actor who
cannot make it past the "but would
you have sex with him" test that the
1'11 Do Anything casting directors hold behind closed
doors. Suddenly, his ex-wife leaves
Written and directed by James L. him their six-year-old daughter, a
Brooks; with Nick Nolte, Albert complete spoiled brat. The story is
Brooks and Julie Kavner. centered on their both adjusting to
their new lives together.
Though the songs are no longer in the picture, it is impossible to talk about
the shortcomings of this film without mentioning them. In case you missed
your high school production of "South Pacific," a musical is not just a play with
a bunch of songs thrown in. The songs provide for character insight and plot
Originally containing 1: songs, ('I'll Do
Anything') received such a bad test screening
that all but one were cut out.
development. Take them out, there isjust a thin skeleton of a story, with gaping
holes where major plot changes were supposed to be.
This is the problem with "I'll Do Anything." To begin with, the most
immediate, obvious result of cutting the musical numbers out is that it
painfully clear where the music should be. A scene in a restaurant, where
asshole producer Bert Adler (Albert Brooks) leaves his girlfriend Nan (Julie
Kavner) at the table in order to schmooze, the music by Hans Zimmer swells
and the camera cuts in on Nan, who looks like she's ready to break into singing
"I Know Him So Well."
And in other places, the plot seems to jump. In one scene, Matt is pissed at
his sorta-girlfriend Cathy (Joely Richardson), but in the next, his mood
towards her is markedly different. Somewhere in there, a showstopper was left
on the cutting room floor, and Matt's mood change was left there with it.
And with mood and plot changes, there is character development left out
as a result of the last-minute cutting. Matt reaches the point he is supposed to
reach. It is sudden, and one never sees it coming, but in a nice way, it is
refreshing. There is no big epiphany speech (or song) by Nolte to mark his
character's transition (Though since the story is set in Hollywood, James L.
Brooks takes a few stabs at the town in a couple painfully obvious speeches).
Of all the actors, only one truly stands out. Nick Nolte and Albert Brooks
give good performances (though they don't sing in this cut), and Joely
Richardson and Julie Kavner are particularly strong in their supporting roles.
However, the gem of the film is Whittni Wright, who plays Jeannie, Matt's
daughter. She comes off as a natural, which is necessary for the part since the
character is a natural actress. When her character is annoying, it is not in the
"supposed to be cute" nature of Macaulay Culkin, but rather because the
character is supposed to be that way. And her brattiness early on is forgivable
as we see her mother, who always makes a compromise with her daughter and
gives such pearls of wisdom as "eat your vitamins so the poison in your food
won't hurt you."
Hopefully Whittni will get other roles, despite the gaps which bring her
debut down. Then again, this movie was made so long ago, judging from Rosie
O'Donnell's pre-"League of Their Own" weight, she may be in college by
now. What's left on the screen is a bit enjoyable, however all the holes which
bring the film down are none the fault of the writers or actors. In the end, you
gotta blame it on the editors.
I'LL DO ANYTHING is playing at Showcase.
Sure, everyone loves Emma Thompson, but did she really deserve the Supporting Actress nomination for "In the Name of the Father'?
Can we talk about these Oscars?
By THE DAILY FILM STAFF
While "Schindler's List" will
probably win for everything, many
great motion pictures will be over-
looked both by awards and even nomi-
nations. A fine example would be
"Short Cuts." This epic saga of con-
temporary sexual politics is a wide-
ranging and honest portrayal of do-
mestic life in the '90s, while at the
same time gritty and complex.
Johanna: Fuck that, but it was
Michael: I'm forced to agree; this
was purely overrated trash. See "Nash-
Alexandra: I didn't even see it.
Camilo: I must disagree, "Nash-
ville" belongs to another generation,
and "Short Cuts" reflects contempo-
rary trends in sexism, somewhat more
elaborate and covert than 20 years
Scott: What? I'm dumbfounded.
Sarah: If "The Fugitive" was nomi-
nated than why wasn't "Short Cuts?"
Scott: Wait, wait, wait. I'm only
dumbfounded that "Menace II Soci-
ety" wasn't nominated.
Sarah: Can I just say that I pretty
much agree with the nomination with
the oversight of not having seen
"What's Love Got to Do with It."
A: What about David Thewlis?
A: He was in "Naked."
A: Never mind. I forgot, this is
Scott: I would nominate Denzel
Washington over Tom Hanks for
"Philadelphia." He lost 30 pounds
and shaved his head, eh. So did Susan
Powter. Hanks did all right, but his
purpose was to be the most amiable
homosexual he could, to keep the
cash registers ringing.
C: My favorite homosexual of the
year was the cute dude in "The Living
End." Well, both.
Scott: Jim Varney masters both
Jed Clampett and Ernest P. Worrell
and nothing?!? Did they not appreci-
ate Sean Astin in Rudy either?
Sarah: Varney was good as Jed
M: Emma who?
Sarah: I want her to win.
C: I'm going through a severe
recessive traumatic brainial di-
chotomy. I want both Angela Bassett
and Holly Hunter to win ...
J: Fuck that. Holly Hunter all the
M: Why wasn't Michelle Pfeiffer
nominated? She was sort of good.
A: Yeah, sort of good. Like you
thought "Age of Innocence" was sort
of the premiere film of the decade.
C: Yeah, yeah. But still refer to my
Scott: How the hell did Rizzo get
in here? Will Olivia Newton-John get
a nomination next year?
Best Supporting Actor/Actress:
M: Jeff Daniels rules. His perfor-
mance in "Gettysburg" was better than
any performance this year.
J: I liked his mustache too.
Scott: Yeah, it was boss. But speak-
ing of hair, where was Sean Penn?
C: Speaking of the Penns, Chris in
"Short Cuts" was one scary bloke.
And speaking of psychos, give it to
John Malkovich. He is one frighten-
A: Objection! Leonardo DiCaprio.
I like his duck tail in "This Boy's
C: Him and Anna would make
such a CUTE couple. Can you imag-
ine Whoopi giving them respective
Sarah: OK, so I know I'm being
way too agreeable, but Pete
Postlethwaite is a pleasant surprise.
M: Everything about "The Firm"
J: I'm speechless.
Sarah: What is Emma Thompson
doing on the list if her role seemed
nothing more than another name and
face for the advertisers to exploit.
J and A: God, I hope Winona
M: Steven should win, but Marty
should have been nominated.
Scott: Marty should have been
nominated but I'm not surprised that
this Academy which has deemed
golden-boys Robert Redford and
Kevin Costner better directors than
him overlooked him.
C: Barbra Streistrand was slighted
two years ago (justifiably) but now
the opportunity to award the Oscar to
a woman re-emerges. Sorry, Steven,
although the Oscar's on your shelf,
Jane can make it meaningful andpretty
M: Well, there you have it, fo-.
Sarah: Wait! What about "Like
Water for Chocolate" for foreign film?
If it wasn't better than "The Wedding
Banquet," than what is?
. C: Whatever. What the hell did the
French do with "Un Coeur en Hiver?"
And I think the Supporting Actor/
Actress category should have been
flooded with 'Short Cuts" nominees.
Sarah: Oh, I forgot about that.
M: Well, there you -
The Staff: Mike, you're a wuss!
M: Hey, I liked "Romeo is Bleed-
J: Fuck that.
'My Father' sentimentalizes puberty
If YOU N~OW'T GOT IT,
BY CAMILO FONTECILLA
0 The traumas of adolescence are
many, and nothing could be posi-
tively more abhorrent than age 14; on
top of the merciless onslaught of pu-
berty, we are hurled into a completely
new educational system and often
My Father the Hero
Written by Francis Veber and Charlie
Peters; Directed by Steve Miner; with
Gerard Depardieu, Katherine Heigl
and Dalton James.
forced to make new friendships with
people who are as ugly, insecure and
hormonally hyperactive as ourselves.
And even worse, we feel compelled
to prove that we are the epitome of
evolution (e.g. cool) when puberty is
9without a doubt the growth stage that
nature forgot to retouch.
"My Father the Hero"'s creators
claim to tackle the issue of adoles-
cence and the concurrent relation-
ships (or lack thereof) between par-
ent and child, which more often than
not are conflictive in character (at
least as this reviewer and everyone he
knows seem to remember them).
Nicole's (Katherine Heigl) rapport
with her parents is no exception, but
apart from a tremendous hot-
headedness she has been blessed with
a lack of every other pubescent curse.
Let me explain: Nicole is, shall
we say, about 95 percent physically
developed, and any significant alter-
common sense and brains than any-
one else in the movie, despite being
somewhat deviously inclined. And
she knows what she wants, so inse-
cure she is not. So this whole movie
that's supposed to appeal to early
teenagers will most likely only man-
age to leave your average 14-year-old
with the first depressing feeling of
inadequacy of his/her life.
Nicole, who additionally happens
to be filthy rich, is picked up at her
Park Avenue apartment (where she
lives with her mother) by her French
father whom she hasn't seen in a year
and a half, Andrd (G6rard Depardieu).
Andr6 is taking her to the Bahamas
for a two-week vacation, and once
there she meets and instantly falls in
love with Ben (Dalton James), an 18-
year-old non-native local. Ashamed
of her father and her age, she fabri-
cates a whole life in which she is 16,
and Andrd's lover, who rescued her
from drugs and a life on the streets.
This situation leads to a comedy
of errors in which Andrd is soon
known to the whole resort as practi-
cally a child molester. Ben tries to
convince Nicole to leave Andr6, talk-
ing to her and also trying to kill off her
poor unsuspecting father. As the
latter's reputation at the resort plum-
mets, the more fascinated Ben be-
comes with Nicole's life. The crisis to
come is evident ...
The resort is populated with un-
bearable stereotypes ranging from the
swaggering natives to the cranky aged
couole. Of these. Diana (Faith Prince)
his longing for his love left in France,
she becomes friend and counsel to
him. Prince, fresh off the Broadway
production of "Guys and Dolls," al-
ways seems about to wistfully say:
"G6rard, dear, how did we ever get
involved in this inanity?" But instead,
she sticks to her moralizing dialogue.
This movie does not lack energy,
but it is certainly misdirected. Heigl
can behave like a hateful teenager
even when baring her entire ass in a
skimpy bathing suit, and Depardieu
and Prince do their share of bouncing
around the screen. But what could
have been a nice simple comedy as-
pires to be a lesson in parent-daughter
relationships with a glossy back-
ground, and this is where it falters and
becomes cheaply sentimental.
At the end of the film, when Ben
and Nicole come together, the age
gap between lovers has been reduced,
but it is still immensely ludicrous:
how many 18-year-olds would actu-
ally want to get involved with some-
one as young as Nicole, as pretty as
she may be? And judging from James'
looks, he is probably far from desper-
ate for other women's attentions.
However, it is all too cute to be
ruffling; what is truly astonishing is
the surprise unadvertised cameo ap-
pearance at the very end of one of this
reviewer's most respected actresses
as AndrW's never revealed Parisian
lover. And thankfully, the film is never
really offensively bad, nothing more
than an amiable return to those days
most of us have cast into oblivion ...
PRESENTS A PREVIEW SCREENING
OF A NEW MAJOR MOTION PICTURE
9 aiwnountj 9
t '~'~I K'I I
' ' ° ' 'WRITTEN