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February 21, 2000 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-21

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Hear the women roar
*len Barry speaks about the female
prisoner experience as part of the
Michigan Prisoner Art Exhibition.
Rackham Amphitheater. 7 p.m. Free.

A ftAd##=Guft
ism
'-r S R--

MONDAY
FEBRUARY 21, 2000

michigandaily.com /arts

'V movie can't quite hold it '2Ge+her'

By Jennifer Fogel
For the Daily
The question that we have been
asking since New Kids on the Block
first broke out onto the scene has
finally been answered.
We shall no longer suffer the dis-
*lief that the Backstreet Boys are
actually popular. Forget about argu-
ing over which N'SYNC members

can sing. Stop the
2Ge+her
Grade: C-
MTV
Tonight at 8

insanity of bicker-
ing about which
LFO member is
going out with
Jennifer Love
Hewitt. The boy
band phenome-
non can be
explained. And
what better way
to do it than in a
satirical look at
the boys we have
grown to either
despise or
become fascinat-
ed with? MTV's

finally found, it's on to Jacksonville,
Fla. for an opening act spot for
Whoa! But these boys are not ready
for stage just yet - they don't even
have a song to be presented. Have no
fear, Bob is here. This is Bob's show
and damn it if he isn't prepared. (So
that's who writes all the songs. I
guess we have the managers to
blame.) After their initial fumbling
choreography and horrifying harmo-
ny, the boys finally become one and
find themselves the picture-perfect
boys of 2Ge+her.
Needless to say, eventually there
will be a standoff between Whoa!
and 2Ge+her, who can easily be mis-
taken for The Backstreet Boys Vs.
N'SYNC. The movie itself leaves a
lot to be desired. Sure, it's fun to
watch this film constantly poke fun
at the phenomenon, but eventually
like every pop sensation, this movie
gets old. After a while, 2Ge+her's
annoying songs will become so mes-
merizing that you WILL catch your-
self singing "I know my Calculus/
You + Me = Us" and you will hate
yourself for it.
The fact that the characters talk to
the camera, which has been overused
this entire season, is distracting.
Though the film implies boy bands
are talentless eye candy who lip sync
to songs they did not write, the
attractive actors in this film actually
did sing. Even though the music is
decent pop, the lack of complexity in
the characters diminishes the film as
a whole.
Leave it to MTV to expose the boy
band sensation for what it really is.
What's next: a Behind the Music
expose on pop teen queens and their
beauty secrets?

Photo Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
Maddy (Lisa Kudrow), Eve (Meg Ryan) and Georgia (Diane Keaton) act like sisters
in the latest film penned by Nora Ephron, "Hanging up."

Hanging Up'

a

dead connection

Courtesy of TVT Records
2Ge+her is the subject of an MTV TV movie about the fictional boy band.

first full length TV movie,
2Ge+her," exposes the boy hand
nsation for what it really is: A for-
ulaic and misguided attempt to sell
sex to pubescent girls.
The movie begins with aging
music manager Bob Buss (Alan
Blumenfeld) working with the ulti-
mate boy band Whoa!, which could
be an inbred cousin of the Backstreet
Boys. Deemed as too controlling, the
boys fire Bob, sending him on a
downward spiral into the boy band
*yss. While trying to prove himself
cool enough for Gen-Xers, Bob hap-
pens upon IT boy Jeremy O'Keefe
(Evan Farmer). Determined to make

Jeremy a star, Bob turns to his music
executive mentor only to find that
solo acts just are not cutting it in
today's day and age (big surprise).
Therefore, in hopes of defeating
Whoa! at their own game, Bob
decides to put together his own boy
band. Of course this is easy as pie
seeing as how there is a specific for-
mula for making a successful boy
band. There are five key ingredients
essential to any boy band: the heart-
throb, the rebel, the cutie, the shy
one and the older brother type. If you
ever feel like wasting a few brain
cells, you might want to test out this
theory on your favorite boy band
(LFO not included).
What ensues is a frantic search in

the oddest of places for the four boys
who can back up "the heartthrob"
Jeremy. Bob finds "shy" Chad Linus
(Noah Bastian) and his "older"
brother Doug (Kevin Farley) at a
New York male beauty pageant.
While looking for his "rebel," Bob
happens upon Mickey Parke (Alex
Solowitz) when he prevents Mickey
from beating up the cotton candy
man. Stopping off at a karaoke bar,
the gang hears the voice of an angel
- the terminally ill, "cutie" Jason
'QT' McKnight (Michael Cuccione).
Each boy can't wait to live out their
dreams of being famous and getting
all the girls they want. See, in the
end it all comes down to sex!
When these "interesting" guys are

By Matthew Barrett
Daily Film Editor
Sisterhood conquers all. At least
that's what "Hanging Up" spends 90
minutes trying to pound into our
heads. Here the story revolves
around three sisters and the different
ways that they deal with the impend-
ing death of their alcoholic father,
Lou (Walter Matthau). There's

Hanging
Up
Grade: D
At Quality 16 and
Showcase

Georgia (Diane
Keaton), a mag-
azine publisher;
Eve (Meg
Ryan), a party
planner; and
Maddy (Lisa
Kudrow), a soap
opera actress.
The gals spend
the majority of
the movie bick-
ering before
coming to the
realization that
they really do

Wilson's new style not fascinating 'Business'

By Amy Hayes
For the Daily
*Valerie Wilson Wesley has decided
to break out of her usual genre of mys-
tery writing (the Tamara Hayle series,
"When Death Comes Stealing,"
"Devil's Gonna Get Him," "Where
Evil Sleeps," "No Hiding Place") to
explore the possibilities of the modern
novel. Her qualifications seem stellar.

Besides receiving
Ain't Nobody's
Business If I Do
Grade: C-
Valerie Wilson
Wesley
Avon Books

the 1993 Griot
Award from the
New York
Chapter of the
N a t i o n a l
Association of
B l a c k
Journalists,
Wesley has had
her work printed
in "Essence,"
"Ms.," and "The
New York
Times." One
would think that
she had her fin-

dipped her pen into the rancid inkwell
reserved for pulp romance novelists,
pulled out a book's worth of stock
characters, slapped a coat of paint on
their skins so the "black market" could
relate, and gone to bed early. Despite
her book's title - which is, notably,
the only black vernacular contained in
the novel - Wesley's completely bor-
ing bevy of characters react to com-
pletely normal situations with com-
pletely predictable emotions.
Even Wesley's plot proves common-
place, surprising for a mystery writer.
The story revolves around Eva, a mid-
dle-aged librarian and uninspired artist
whose husband Hutch leaves her in the
opening pages of the novel. Hutch
gives pathetic, overused reasons for
leaving, telling Eva that he's "tired,"
"sick of how empty [he] feels," that
there's "no joy." We automatically see
that Hutch is entering his upwardly
mobile mid-life crisis, but Eva doesn't
get it. Instead, she feels guilty that she
"can't work up a good cry" after ten
years of marriage and ponders the gray
streak in her hair - smart and sophis-
ticated, or just plain old?
But it gets worse. Eva and Hutch
have worked together raising two chil-
dren from other couplings - Charley
and Steven. Charley, who has just
completed law school at her mother's
urging, flitters throughout the novel
with the attention span and sensibility
of a 12-year-old. All we really know
about her is that she likes to upset her
mother and, although she somehow
managed to earn a degree in law, does-
n't seem intelligent enough to explain
her erratic behavior.
Steven, Hutch's son with his first
wife, is a little more exciting. As the
story progresses, we find out that-

gasp! - the boy is gay. In one of the
novel's few memorable scenes, Steven
"comes out" to Hutch in a predictably
new age setting -- a vegan cafd --and
Hutch reacts with homophobic dis-
gust. Instead of delving into the issue,
however, Wesley has Steven rather
comfortably decide to completely cut
his father out of his life. Hutch, of
course, comes around and forces him-
self to "accept" his son's "lifestyle"
just in time to spend Christmas with
him.
Underlying the entire story are
Hutch and Eva's mid-life crises.
Wesley is painfully predictable in her
depiction of their emotional progress.
Eva takes on a younger lover, throws a
couple more college classes onto her
resume, quits smoking, becomes
inspired and begins to draw again.
Hutch sleeps with his best friend's
wife, rents a little bachelor pad, throws
himself into his work and tries to cook
for himself. Eva and Hutch both do a
bit of redecorating, become jealous of
each other and fixate on their relation-
ships with the gender-appropriate dead
parent. In the end, they get back
together. After all, there are only so

many places cardboard people can go.
To her credit, Wesley does attempt to
add intrigue to some of her minor char-
acters. Steven is not only gay, but is
involved in an interracial relationship.
Eva's young lover, Isiah, is a jazz musi-
cian who used to date Charley. Eva's co-
workers, although treated marginally in
the book, are almost fascinating in their
freakish desires to hold on to their "real"
work: The novel one has been working
on for over a decade, the thesis topic the
graduate student changes every few
weeks, the art that is talked about and
never produced. Had Wesley given her
major characters such interesting idio-
svncrasies, her novel would not have
fallen so flat.
Although "Ain't Nobody's Business If
I Do" is hampered by lifeless characters
and a lackluster plot, Wesley's prose is
well constructed and engaging. She
keeps her tone from becoming overly
moralistic and does seem to want to
examine modern life. "Ain't Nobody's
Business If I Do" will end up where it
belongs -- on the back of the toilet for
bathtub reading - but Wesley's sparks
of talent may end up catching fire in her
future efforts.

without a care in the world. For some
reason the Ephron sisters decided
that including phones ringing and
characters hanging up on each other
throughout the story would spice up
the action and get a few laughs.
Nope.
The acting is awful across the
board with both Matthau and Keaton
playing their usual types with little
flair. Keaton also directed the movie
and does nothing to indicate that she
belongs behind the camera. Ryan is
at her worst, playing the same annoy-
ing, spunky character that she's
made a living off of for years.
Because Eve laughs and cries, the
part would fall to the more serious
side of Ryan's acting cannon.
Ryan goes for the same lame jokes
as always - silly faces, physical
comedy and overreacting to just
about anything. Perhaps the worst
scene in the film comes when Eve
tries to jam a pill into the mouth of
some gigantic dog that's about twice
her size. She puts it in. He spits it
out. She puts it in again. He spits it
out again. And this is supposed to be
funny?
The scene really captures every-
thing that is wrong with Ryan. How
can any actor worth their beans think
that this is amusing? Meg Ryan
screwing something up and dogs are
the two easiest laughs to get in
movies today and from here on out
should no longer be allowed to
appear onscreen together.
There's really nothing positive to
say about this film. The sisters don't
seem to care about each other for the
majority of the movie, so the "let's
be friends, we really need each
other" ending seems fake and a little
hard to swallow. At one point, a char-
acter offers Eve the advice that
"sometimes it's necessary to discon-
nect," upon which she unplugs all of
the phones in her house. We only
wish that the projectionist would
have followed suit and spared us the
misery.

need each other, followed by a nice,
warm group hug.
The film lacks focus and for the
most part we feel as if it's just killing
time until the inevitable sob scene at
Daddy's bedside. The narrative
bounces back and forth between the
present and the past, shedding light
on a family history which is neither
interesting nor that unusual. The cul-
mination of these flashbacks comes
when a drunk Lou smacks a pinata
onto his grandson's birthday cake
and then wonders what all the fuss is
about. As you can tell, the story
never builds a drop of sympathy for
Lou, who is portrayed as an ugly,
uncaring pervert of a father. And as a
result, we feel little emotion or
attachment as Lou's health deterio-
rates.
The script, written by Nora and
Delia Ephron, is weak and not funny.
None of the characters are very
engaging or interesting and as a
result, we drift through the film

ger on our culture's collective pulse.
Unfortunately, with "Ain't Nobody's
Business If I Do," Wesley proves that
she is missing the beat.
Ernest Hemingway once said that a
good writer always knows his charac-
ters: Their life histories, their subcon-
scious fears, where they have their hair
t, which toenails are ingrown. Little
this information makes it on the
page, of course, but the writer should.
know it nonetheless. After reading
"Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do" we
become achingly aware that Wesley
not only doesn't know her characters,
she probably hasn't even stood behind.
them in line at the bank. While plan-
ning her novel, Wesley seems to have

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