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May 31, 2005 - Image 38

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-05-31

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26 - The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2005



Smith and ames fail
to save tepid comedy
By Amanda Andrade That's okay, of course, because all of these men
Daily Arts Writer are actually enamored by their ladies' "person-
alities" rather than their supermodel good looks.
Although maybe that's less surprising consider-
ing the New York of the film is the city in which
After slumming hard in progressively idiotic average-looking women just don't seem to exist.
summer bombast, Will Smith But what the movie misses in gender sensitiv-
has finally succumbed to the Hitch ity, it at least partially recoups in a reluctance to
most natural forum for his ebul- build on racial stereotypes. It's a noble effort,
lient charm - romantic com- Columbia especially when so many scenes between James
edy. The vehicle in question, and Smith are veritable invitations for the kind of
"Hitch," would be a fine showcase sophomoric sitcom-level cheap shots that Smith
for Smith's considerable on-screen charisma if only has built a pretty tidy career around. It's refresh-
it relied on something - anything - more than its ing to see the gifted comedian rise above it.
marquee star to make the movie worthwhile. Echoing that decidedly nice-spirited side of the
The setup is straightforward enough: Alex film are the performances from both male actors.
"Hitch" Hitchens (Smith) is a date doctor who Smith has a breezy, affable, old-Hollywood charm
teaches fumbling men how to woo their dream that resonates in most of his scenes. James is the real
girls. One particularly desperate client is Albert surprise, holding his own and maintaining a sympa-
(Kevin James, TV's "King of Queens"), a CPA thetic performance. The actresses in the film, how-
in love with his classy heiress client, Allegra. Eva ever, are almost complete blanks. That's not wholly




Mendes ("2 Fast 2 Furious") plays the gossip col- surprising for a movie that counts among its man' "OK, listen. If I catch you humming 'Summertime' again, I'm gonna have to smack you."
umnist assigned to cover the medication-moni- revelations: "Whoa, women are, like, human beings the fact that Hitch's entire livelihood rests on women minute it's a light-hearted comedy, the next it's a
kered celebrity and turns out to be the one girl and stuff." Mendes and her prescription cohort are sleeping with men they wouldn't normally touch - a preachy meditation on human vulnerability.
Hitch can't seem to crack. Screenwriter Kevin beautiful, sophisticated, supposedly intelligent and loveable, harmless GHB for the well-meaning man. The result is a middling star vehicle, over-
Bisch apparently felt the obvious theme of rela- always impeccably dressed. With little success, "Hitch" tries to play on long and awkward. It's pretty reminiscent of a
tionship complexity warranted two meandering But that's not the fault of the actresses so much issues of insecurity, interpersonal trust and a slew first date, actually, and those feeling particularly
plots in lieu of one solid story. as the script, which gives them little else to do but of other topics that are beyond the scope of a for- benevolent may assume that's the point. They
Intriguingly, the myriad geeky men Hitch look winsome for their oafish suitors. Eventually the mulaic studio comedy. By tackling the issues in a may also assume that Smith is going to refund
strives to help are always after women absurd- climax has to rest on a contrived misunderstanding half-hearted, manipulative sort of way, the film their nine dollars - it's all the hope "Hitch" has
ly out of their physical-attractiveness league. rather than anything organic or systemic, like, say, only ends up with a wildly inconsistent tone. One left once the theater lights go up again.
Prep' refreshes boarding school stigmas
By Evan McGarvey Second, nothing really happens. With no cataclysmic with unnerving accuracy.
Diy MusictEditur prauna evens or historical backdrop, the reader is left Sittenfeld's unflinching storytelling lends an air of
to witness the minute details of daily life in a boarding authenticity (she attended Groton and now teaches at
school. Finally, the characters are shaded in wonder- St. Alban's) that ends up as "Prep's" biggest selling
fully gray tones. Lee isn't completely likeable and even point. She handles the details of oft-misunderstood
The boarding school novel has long been supported the most privileged of ice queens occasionally shows places with a calm restraint and a surprisingly aged
by the grandfatherly twin illars "Catcher in the Rve" flashes of tenderness. reserve. The smell of a dining hall at night the end-


vy tlcg luuatliy til p1u wc1rl 1y
and "A Separate Peace." Both classic si
books show a world of boys in seclu- Prep
sion - young men of idle wealth ByCurtis
tucked away in corners of New Eng- Sittenfed
land, playing lacrosse and biding
their time until their eventual move Random House
to New Haven or Princeton.
With her debut novel, "Prep," Curtis Sittenfeld
draws a new picture of the classic East Cost boarding
school. First, her protagonist isn't particularly snobby
or precociously intelligent; Lee Fiora is a Midwestern
girl who finds herself at Ault School, overwhelmed
academically and envious of each rich Greenwich girl.

Sittenfeld initially sets Lee up as a pure observer
- a watcher who catalogues the everyday behaviors of
Ault notable figures. For all the elements often mythol-
ogized and romanticized about boarding schools, Sit-
tenfeld never relies on the blunt stereotype. After all,
on some level, high school is high school.
Expectedly, Lee, ever the blue-collar scion, cycles
through a series of romances: her awkward courting
with a dinner-hall worker, the recognition of a lesbian
friend and, of course, her book-long passion for Cross
Sugarman, the WASP-y, flaxen-haired golden boy of
her class. The author captures the often un-romantic,
crudely sexual mechanics of juvenile relationships

less rituals that mark the close of day, the shape of the
green spaces around classrooms - Sittenfeld captures
the places that prep-school graduates remember best.
The novel's characters are plausible, but sometimes
fall into their expected shapes. Some readers may find
the protagonist's constant social climbing and working-
class resentment grating, and most characters have major
secrets, which is the only gap in the novel's narrative.
Instead of rehashing the stereotypes of older
novels and films, Sittenfeld takes a look at mod-
ern schools and finds wounds in new places. She's
retold the story of a fascinating subset of teenagers
with brutal honesty.

Washtenaw ndependent PBiWe Church
athereunto "the name o 'te lore{esus Christfor
oct e,effcowshp, Breakin brea and prayers
e t in homes in the hn Arboarea
day 10:00 am, 11:00 ' 7:00 p.
Wednesday 7:00 °
For more informai.n phs c 996-1767
3esus said "'or where two or three gathere together
in my name, there am q in the midst of them."



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