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September 13, 2000 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-13

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Free Betty!
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nichigandaily.con /arts

WEDNESDAY
SEPTEMBER 13, 2000

Nurse Betty; Rock don't meet critics
prescripted comedic expectations

By Leslie Boxer
Daily Arts Wriuer
With all of the hype surrounding "Nurse
Bettyv" it was the only American film to place
at this year's Cannes Film Festival (with an
award for John C. Richards screenplay) - you
would expect the film to be tremendous. Perhaps
this anticipation is the
problem. "Nurse Betty"
has been called a hilarious
comedy and its poster and
Nurse advertisements are speck-
Betty led with rave reviews
Grade: c+ ifrom top critics.
Lnfortunately all of that
at Showcase. buildup has lead to a total
disappointment. It is not
hilarious - instead,
"Nurse Betty" is funny
moments that punctuate
slow and often tedious
dialogue.
The film is about Betty
.eizemorc (Renee Zellweger). who is not actual-

lv a nurse, but instead is a waitress in a small
Kansas diner. Betty is a sweet and mild-man-
nered woman who is compulsively addicted to a
"General Hospital" style soap opera called
"Reason to Live." She is enamoured by its
heart-throb surgeon, Dr. David Ravell (Greg
Kinnear) and seems to involve herself emotion-
ally with the events of the show. It is not until
Betty's insensitive, cheating husband (Aaron
Eckhart) gets into a bit of trouble with some hit
men that anything disrupts Betty's generally
happy existence in Fair Oaks. Kansas.
While quietly watching a video tape of that
afternoon's episode of "Reason to Live," Betty
accidentally witnesses the brutal murder of her
husband. Del. by two hit men. After watching
such an atrocity, Betty promptly removes the
event from her memorv in a form of post-trau-
matic shock. She rewinds the part of the show
she has missed and fixates on the idea that Dr.
Ravell is her ex-fiancee. It is at this point that
Betty's true pathology begins. This scene, which
is constantly flashing back and forth between the
murder and the soap opera, is a perfect introduc-
tion to the film. It juxtaposes the reality of Del's

death with the unrealistic world of daytime tele-
vision.
In her attempt to rekindle the flame with her
ex-lover, Betty heads out to Los Angeles bcliev-
ing that she has left her husband behind because
they had grown apart. Meanwhile back in
Kansas, the two hit men, played by Morgan
Freeman and Chris Rock, realize that they have
botched the job and now must find Betty and the
cocaine coincidently hidden in her car.
As we watch Betty flee Kansas as a result of a
traumatic event, it is impossible not to think of
"The Wizard of Oz." One of the characters alonc
the way even references the film in case we did-
n't catch the similarities. The analogy to "The
Wizard of Oz" serves the film well it sets up
the tone of this fairy tale adventure.
The story is in every way a fairy tale. We are
caught in Betty's reality, a distorted vision that
intertwines real life with the action of a soap
opera. In maneuvering the film to depict this
inverted sense of reality, Neil LaBute, the film's
director, astutely changes the audience's percep-
tion of Betty from a nut case to someonC that is
endearingt.

va
Courtesy ofU1 s
Chris Rock, Morgan Freeman and Renee Zellweiger star in "Nurse Betty."
Once arriving in Los Angeles, Betty searches Angeles hospital after miraculously relievh1_
for Dr. David Ravell and the fictious hospital pneumothorax; a procedure that she hadsp
that lie works at. Loma Vista. While not a certi- performed on the show. While settling into
fied nurse, Betty lands herself a job at a Los in LA t See BETTY, Pnt

I

Basement Arts kicks off fall season with "Wallace and

Women".

By Robyn Melamed
I)ailY 1vnc. Per'oImI g Ar t'Editor
W\ithout missing a beat, the
Basement Arts season is opening this

Women and
Wallace
Arena Theater
Sepuember 146

weekend with
the play
"Womcn and
Wallace," writ-
ten by Jonathan
Marc Sherman.
For those unfa-
miliar with
Basement Arts.
it is a theater
group OPCt to
students of all
m aj o rs a nd
backgcr o utids.
This group has a
tery low budget,
for them to use crc-

ing to make the plays exciting. These
productions take place in the base-
ment of the Frieze building, and are
free of charge. This year. Basement
Arts will be performing more fre-
quently than in past years cranking
out one show per week.
"Women and Wallace" begins as
Wallace. at age 18. flings a tomato at
a young woman dressed in all white,
shouting "I lo e you." The play then
goes back in time showing Wallace,
at age 6, comeing home from school
to find his mother dead in the
kitchen.
From this moment on. he "alters
his perception of what love is. what
wkomen want. and what he wants
from them,"'said senior theater major
and director Marc Kamler. Junior
theater major Steve Best who plays
the character of Wallace, added. " Ic
uses his mother's death as a scape-

to help him deal with the loss of his
mother. and the senior whom he first
has sex with when lie is a college
freshnian.
"Throughout the play, Wallace has
a double character." Best said. "He's
constantly putting on facades to get
the girl." Kamler said these scenes
"present Wallace's views of women
and his fears of intimacy."
Kamler chose "Women and
Wallace" because he has no under-
standing himself of what women
want, and said, "it's fun to explore
and play with these ideas." ie added,
"e always loved everything about
this play. Now I've gotten the chance
to come up with a vision that can be
followed through on the stage."
Kamiler chose to direct this play
with a black and white color concept.
All of the sets and costumes will be
black and white aside from a few

exceptions cast in red. "This aJgo
special dimension of happening _
the past,' Kamler said.
Best thinks this color "makes ,it1;a
little more artistic. It adds another
layer to the play's realism." Ov -.
Best thinks the realism will hit hq-
with the male audience. "Frgn
guv's perspective, they'll see thi
and be like 'yeah! That happen ti
Joining Best in the cast are MIle"A
Grubor, Julia Merchant, Taryn FiNA
Johanna Schuster-Craig, Davq
Santoro, Jessie Cantrell, Darji4
Streisand and Erin Bahl. "The c i
great. I mean, hey, I'm with cight
girls!" Best said.
Kamler agreed, saying, "\e
only had 12 days of rehearsal. 1
been hectic and crazy, and tI
willing to work long hours and'
hard."

I

Basement Arts opens its season with the production "Wallace and Women."

(oat whenever someth inc coes
wrong.
The rest of the play is comprised
of short scenes invol\inc Wallace
and the women that come into his

life duringc his vounger years and
adolescence.
These include his ornery crand-
mothIier, a '.irl who suckers him iinto
his first kiss. a psychiatrist that tries

so it is necessary

ativit in staging, acting and direct-

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