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November 08, 1999 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-08

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10A The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 8, 1999
'Bachelor' O'Donnell charms in light-comedy remake

By Christopher Tkaczyk
Daily Arts Writer
Chris O'Donnell has been working
hard on "The Bachelor" for three
years and it shows. This is his first
attempt at producing a studio film,
and, in a recent interview, said he
wanted to create something with
heart. "The Bachelor" definitely has a
pulse, full of energy and gusto. His
updating of Buster Keaton's "Seven
Chances" is a delightful, entertaining
comedy, but treated with a poor hand.
The age old jokes about living the
bachelor life have been updated to
entertain a modern audience.
Unfortunately, writer Steve Cohen

decided the only
The
Bachelor
At Showcase,8riarwood &
Quality 16

way to update them
was to throw in a
few four-letter
words, which
lowers the film's
quality.
T h e
Bachelor" tells
the story of
Jimmie Shannon,
a pool table man-
ufacturer who
intends to wed
Anne (Renee
Zellweger), his
girlfriend of
three years.

ing day, which leaves less than 24
hours to convince someone to marry
him. He re-proposes to Anne before
she goes out of town, but again she
dismisses him as being not-of-heart.
Instead of chasing her, he tracks down
10 of his former lovers, looking for a
wannabe rich girl who will help him
claim the cash and save his pool table
company from being liquidated.
Guest appearances by Brooke
Shields and Mariah Carey are well
done to the point of being burnt.
Shields proves that yes, there is life
beyond "Suddenly Susan." Hidden
under heavy makeup and a chain-
smoking habit, Shields takes an
unknowing audience a full long
moment to realize it's Brooke Shields.
Unfortunately, her only scene is
drawn out and becomes tedious, fol-
lowing a repetitious hesitation in
accepting the marriage proposal.
Maybe she has a future in whiny rich
girl roles.
Mariah Carey, who was classically
trained in operatic voice before
defecting to the horrific world of pop
music, portrayed an opera singer,
once jilted by Jimmie. It is unclear
whether Carey's voice is heard, or if it
is a vocal stand-in. But with Carey's
full five octave range, it is quite pos-
sible.
The inclusion of the "save the com-
pany" subplot is an obvious attempt
to show that Jimmie's marriage plans
are not merely for the money. The 24-
hour bride search becomes his quest
for happiness and true love. And, of
course, happiness is always where
you left it. Dorothy herself said it
best with "there's no place like
home."

lization.
"The Bachelor" is a mindless film,
leaving nothing to be deciphered or
interpreted by the brain. But, as
Robin Williams has proved, you
don't need a mind to laugh, only a
heart.
But that's not to say that "The
Bachelor" is a bad film. The perfor-
mances turned out by veteran actors
Hal Holbrook, Ed Asner and Peter
Ustinov are all first rate. Ustinov's
brief performance as Jimmie's grand-
father is hysterical. Maybe this brief
success will inspire a much-needed
Ustinov comeback. Holbrook and
Asner make a great comedy team, and
it is unfortunate they weren't given
more time together onscreen. As
always, Mr. Grant knows what to do.
It is doubtful that O'Donnell will ever
join their league, but he plays the irre-
sponsible grandson role with
penache.
O'Donnell, as charming as he is
attractive, lives up to the heartthrob
image that will spurn most women
(young and old) to go see this film.
There are no demands for him here,
and he functions well in a another
pretty boy role. His final proposal
(the sincere one intended finally to
get the girl) is moving and weepy, but
otherwise could've used a bit more
help in the script department. Still, it's
a step up from the "shit or get off the
pot" that threw him into the pits of
relationship hell.
He finally does learn a lesson how-
ever, from the priest who accompa-
nies Jimmie and his friend Marco
(Artie Lange) on their all-night bridge
search. Mostly silent throughout the
film, the priest lectures Jimmie on the

joys of marriage during a calm, after-
noon boat ride, taking him, figura-
tively, to the light at the end of the
bachelor tunnel. Excellently por-
trayed by James Cromwell, the
priest's one big scene is well-worth@
the wait. Cromwell reveals that he
was once wed, an event that he
defines as the happiest event of his
life. With his speech, Cromwell
becomes more than just another stock
cleric.
In a last minute attempt to find a
bride, Marco places a classified ad in
the San Francisco Herald, which turns
into a front page lead story, titled:
"Would you marry this man for Slbt)
million'?" The coverage causes hun-
dreds of would-b: brides to don their
mothball reeking wedding dresses and
get themselves to the church on time.
San Francisco is a good town for chase
scenes (see "What's Up, Doc?"), but
this has to be the first that involves a
sea of virgins spilling down the tilted
road toward commitment. Some peo-
ple have to work hard for their money.
Unfortunately, "The Bachelor"
doesn't include any dialogue been
Jimmie and Anne that explains the
power of love over money. It is slightly
implied, but, in a film where every-
thing has already been drawn out too
much and where the film's climax
relies upon it, the omission remains a
hole in the cloth. Instead, Jimmie pro-
poses for a third time, and the money
isn't even discussed, a let-down for the
true romantic.
So as not to spoil the happy ending,
the film's finish wont' be revealed
here. But for those of you still won-
dering, let's just say that he gets the
girl. Which girl? Go see the movie.

When the big proposal at the Starlight
Room arrives, Jimmie botches it, and
Anne believes he longs to be a bache-
lor forever. A few days later, dear old
granddad passes away, leaving him
with $100 million in meat industry
assets, provided that Jimmie can get
married by 6:05 p.m. on the day of his
30th birthday. And wouldn't luck have
it that his 30th birthday is the follow-

Courtesy of New Line Cinema

Chris O'Donnell sparkles as Jimmie Shannon in "The Bachelor."

Would "The Bachelor" have been
entertaining if the producers had held
to a script closer to the original? It is
it too much of a gamble to hope mod-

ern audiences will appreciate comedy
without verbal error? Again, here's
another example of why pop culture is
contributing to the downfall of civi-

Read the Daily.
And while you're at it, stop by the
Daily and pick up free
'Being John Malkovich'
folders, pens and masks.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT ANNA AT
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ANNA@LIGHTSURF. COM.

Sexy 'Romance' turns on little sensuality

By Ed Sholinsky
Daily Film Ldnor
It's hard to say
movie of the year.
Romance
No Stars
At The Michigan
Theater
7, 4 t~

that "Romance" is the worst
In "Romance"'s exploration of
female sexuality there is a
great idea, but Catherine
Breillat's poor script and
excruciating direction show
that it takes much more than a
great idea to make a great
film.
"Romance" is Marie's
(Caroline Trousselard) explo-
ration of her sexuality and the
psychological baggage that
goes along with it. The script
allows Marie a lot of interest-
ing insights towards the begin-
ning, but as her sexuality spins
out of control so do her

get him interested by caressing him and blowing
him (again, something Breillat really loves to
show), but it doesn't work. Paul prefers going to
clubs and stringing women along on the dance floor
or having sushi by himself and reading.
Finally frustrated, Marie decides to explore sex
outside of her relationship with Paul and encounters
a multitude of men. She meets Paolo (Rocco
Siffredi) who can go on forever, but who Marie
can't stand to even look at. Then there is her boss,
Robert (Francois Berleand), who wants to get into
the darker parts of sexuality. Robert ties Marie up
and gags her, trying to seduce and dominate her.
The aspect that ties all of these events together is
Marie and her thoughts. Marie explains her feelings
and emotions at every step, sharing her sexual
insights with the audience. These are suppposed to
be deep and revealing, but turn out to be hysterical.
Breillat can't find a way to communicate Marie's
thoughts and actions, and as a result her important
themes and messages are lost in a sea of laughter.
Breillat tries so hard to get everything out that
she shows everything from oral sex to manual sex,
anal rape to sado-masochism and masturbation to a
coming penis. All of this culminates in a close up of

thoughts and the film itself.
Marie has the problem in that her boyfriend Paul
(Saagamore Stevenin) has an incredibly small
penis, which Breillat loves to show, and as a result
isn't really interested in having sex. Marie tries to

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Moyer's 'Fooling' a bunch of irr

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"Fooling With
Words"
Bill Moyers
William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Every couple of years the
Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival
in Warterloo, New Jersey, showcases
the talents of some of the most
notable living poets. And every cou-
ple of years, geriatric TV journalist

I

Bill Moyers covers it for public tele-
vision.
The 1998 festival must have been
something special because Moyers
used it as a rather lame excuse to put
out a book of interviews with II of
the participants. "Fooling With
Words: A Celebration of Poets and
Their Craft," is a book that should
never have been published. '
Some of the poets that Moyers
interviews include Robert Pinsky
(U.S. Poet Laureate), Stanley Kunitz
(former U.S. Poet Laureate),
Deborah Garrison, Paul Muldoon,
Marge Piercy and other writers
you've never heard of. All of the
poets together do represent a vast
amount of viewpoints, such as femi-
nists, homosexuals, Asian-

Americans, Latino/a F
African-Americans and,
old people. I have nothi
old people, but after rc
book I began to wonder v
plementary butterscotchc
n't taped to the back cove
This collection of
showcases some decent p
few good life ideas within
repetitive and sycophai
views. Each interview
selected poems written b)
viewee. Most of the
revolve around how each]
to poetry, other basic ques
their backgrounds and f
and what they do to stay c
Also, Moyers seems to e
people how much he lik

Marie giving birth, which should be valuable fo
those of you who missed "The Miracle of Life" in
junior high school.
What Breillat's script lacks, her direction doesn't
make up for at all. She is just as bad with a camera
as she is with a word processor. Additionally, as a
director she can't get reasonable performances out
of her cast. Trousselard is a terrible actress and
doesn't draw the audience in. Her character and
characterization are unsympathetic to the point of
disconnection, and she is the key to the whole film.
This, ultimately, is very unfortunate. Most dircc
tors never approach the female sexuality from th*
woman's point of view, largely because most direr.
tors and screenwriters are men. Breillat had the
opportunity to break away from the pack and real
ly do something unique and wonderful. Fortuately
there is another movie that explores women's sexu
ality as it differs from the norm in the upcoming
limited release "Boys Don't Cry," because.
"Romance" doesn't do its job. Instead, you'll have
to wait until next year or travel to Royal Oak to see
female sexuality explored in an interesting and live-
ly manner. All "Romance" has is naked people an(Z
unintentional humor.
elevant'Words'
Americans, poems read aloud, because he men-
of course, tions it to almost every poet he talks to.
ng against Not surprisingly, they all have similar
eading the answers to these questions.
vhy a com- Two interviews, however, stand ou
candy was- from the rest. The first is Coleman
r. Barks, who spoke of his work trans-
interviews lating the works of thirteenth-
oetry and a Century Sufi mystic Rumi. Rumi is a
otherwise glowing presence in literature's shad
ntic inter- owlands and somebody that probably
contains more people should be familiar with.
y the inter- The sample poems of Rumi that
interviews Barks shares with us are enthralling.
poet turned Barks' own poetry, along with the
tions about poetry of every other poet profiled!
preferences is more worthwhile reading than the
reative. Q&A.
njoy telling The real gem of the book is
es hearing Moyer's interview with Kurtis
Lamkin, an African-American musi-
cian/poet from South Carolina.
Lamkin is truly a man in the world,
in the tradition of many great wan-
dering spirits. His knowledge and
experience as both a black man an
an artist shines just below the surface
of our frayed social settings in mod*
ern America as a real conscience for
today and tomorrow.
D .: One of the things that this book
seems to contribute to is the further
separation of poetry and prose. In my
humble opinion they are the same.
Anyone who has ever read any James
Joyce or Vladimir Nabokov might
wholeheartedly agree with me -on
that. I am not singling. out old Bill
and his diverse band of poets, rathei@
the subculture that he evokes in his
introduction and interviews. Poetry
should not have a subculture - it£
should be ever present in all other
aspects of culture.
The subtlest but most important
problem with this book is its relevance.

y*;.

.

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