I love to read other critics’ reviews. When movies are good, they’re very, very good, but when movies are bad, they’re better. Paris Hilton’s new movie, The Hottie & the Nottie at least inspired two of my favorite critics and gave them a chance to demonstrate their own insight and humor. Now that’s hot.
Jeanette Catsoulis in the New York Times:
One would think that after increasingly embarrassing forays into reality television, the Internet and the penitentiary, Paris Hilton might have taken a moment to reflect on her choices. Or perhaps not: with “The Hottie & the Nottie” Ms. Hilton proves yet again that introspection — not to mention shame — is as alien to her as a life without paparazzi. Custom designed for its smirking star (who is also an executive producer), this tasteless train wreck asks only that she preen and prance on cue.
Desson Thomson in the Washington Post:
“Hottie” could have been a witty, playful affair in which love is played up against beauty and Hilton’s larger-than-life presence is the inside joke at the heart of everything. But Nate’s quest to end up with Cristabel is as hopeless as Wile E. Coyote’s, forever chasing that elusive Road Runner. That he gets close enough even to befriend her is laughable. Like Nate, we are mere Notties. And we are supposed to feel oh-so privileged for getting to watch Paris through the glass.
“Family is a 24-7 reality check,” explains one of the parade of nightmare relatives. “This is one hell of a family,” says another. These two statements pretty much summarize the movie. And that’s the good news.
Family reunions on screen create immediate identification. We all know what it feels like to come home to our families of origin and discover how quickly those carefully-assembled grown-up personas disappear and those just-below-the-surface rivalries take over. That is why it is fun to see it happen to someone else. This set-up and a talented cast provide the engine that keeps this movie going even when the screenplay lags behind.
Martin Lawrence plays a therapist/author with a successful talk show. He is engaged to Bianca (Joy Bryant) the gorgeous and intensely competitive champion of the reality show “Survivor.” He brings her to meet his family on his first visit home in nine years, for his parents’ 50th anniversary celebration. Although his son Jamaal wanted to be with the family, R.J. had not planned to go – he sent a giant flat-panel TV instead. But Bianca points out that it would be great publicity to film it for his television show, showing the hometown boy made good, surrounding by adoring relatives.
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This pea-brained vanity production does not have the energy to remember from one scene to the next what it is about or why it is on screen. It is attention-deficit film-making. Famous-for-being-famous Paris Hilton is not only the star, but also the producer of the film, and it seems to have been entirely generated by whatever she thought would be fun to do in front of a camera, with no thought whatsoever to the misery it would inflict on those who might watch it.
Hilton cast herself as Cristabel, the “hottie,” a perfect beauty and object of universal desire with a heart of gold. She even gives her stalker a dazzling smile and a perky wave as she reminds him that he is required by a restraining order to keep his distance.
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