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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Blonde Ambition
Blonde Ambition
Sony Pictures // PG-13 // January 22, 2008
List Price: $24.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Brian Orndorf | posted January 20, 2008 | E-mail the Author
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THE FILM

"Blonde Ambition" is a whiffle ball of a motion picture; a vanity production for Jessica Simpson, produced by her father Joe, and its main goal is to present the idea to audiences that Ms. Jessica is a star in the making and unsinkable leading lady material. It's no surprise that the outcome of the performance is a resounding wince, and perhaps it's not a stretch to find out that "Blonde Ambition" is a wretched motion picture.

Katie (Jessica Simpson) is a small-town Oklahoma girl with a big-city fiancé in hand model Billy (Drew Fuller). On the advice of her "Pap Paw" (Willie Nelson), Katie heads to New York City to surprise Billy, only to find him in bed with another woman. Devastated, Katie runs to the comfort of cousin Haley (Rachael Leigh Cook) and, through a "comical" series of circumstances, ends up with a corporate job under the care of wicked schemer Debra (Penelope Ann Miller) and her lackey, Freddy (Andy Dick). While Debra has plans to use the fetching hayseed's naiveté to take over the company, Katie finds her attentions are more tuned into Ben (Luke Wilson), a mailroom worker she's attracted to.

There are worse actors out there for sure, what with Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, and Alicia Witt still garnering sizable paychecks for their monosyllabic line readings. It's easy to hog pile on Jessica Simpson, and certainly "Blonde Ambition" makes a great case to grab a flaming torch and run her out of the acting world for the rest of time. Perhaps if Simpson acted like an adult for once it would be a different story, but she insists on this aggravating, transparent puddy tat kitten voice to top off her bubbly, jiggly blonde exterior. It makes it impossible to watch her without your eyes and ears suddenly filling with blood.

Aiming daggers at Simpson for the failure of "Ambition" is impractical; it's clear every member of the production has failed themselves with shoddy work. A laborious, useless romantic comedy, Simpson's only job is to bop around like a nimrod, making kissy faces with fire-engine-red lipstick caked on her lips while the camera gleefully ogles her every last curve - an incestuous quality of the film that's immensely icky when you recall that her father produced the picture ("Papa Joe Films") and cameos.

The rest of the hurt belongs to director Scott Marshall, the son of Garry Marshall, who has followed in his father's footsteps and embarked on a career of absurdly awful movies ("Keeping Up with the Steins"). Marshall guides "Ambition" with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, instructing his cast to ham it up to top volume and execute comedy in a way that would make "Hee Haw" cringe. Facing the likes of Andy Dick, Penelope Ann Miller, "Jackass" star Ryan Dunn, Larry Miller, and Penny Marshall, I don't know what Marshall was trying to accomplish in the first place, but his touch is deadly, making "Ambition" not only cinematically insignificant with lazy directional choices, but also blazingly unfunny.

Here's a perfect example of Marshall's misery: as Katie bungles her way around the New York streets, she walks over an air vent, which promptly blows her skirt up over her head. In the background of the shot, clearly visible, is a theater marquee pasted with the title "Seven Year Itch." Later in the film, Penny Marshall makes a joke about fondly recalling previous experiences in Milwaukee. Is Scott Marshall's underlining playful or gut-wrenchingly amateurish? You tell me.

As for Luke Wilson, well, at least he looks like he understands what a stinker he's signed on to. With disheveled hair and three-day scruff, Wilson appears as though he shot all his material over one 24-hour period. He's a disinterested mess, choking back disdain toward the moronic screenplay that's rotund with idiotic sitcom misunderstandings, and suffering through line dancing sequences and meet-cutes with Simpson with hopes to stumble upon the farce called "chemistry." It doesn't take. "Blonde Ambition" won't destroy Wilson's career, but it certainly will be placed on probation.

The fun, if that's the right word, of "Blonde Ambition" is spotting the oddities: the white fright wig Simpson wears during reshot sequences, Katie's furious tooth-brushing habit when nervous, finding a comedic karaoke scene for the third movie in just under a month, and watching Simpson negotiate a pratfall or piece of slapstick as though someone (daddy?) has brainwashed her into thinking she's Lucille Ball's rightful heir.

THE DVD

Visual:

Presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1 aspect ratio), the creators of "Blonde Ambition" decided to go with a sickly color scheme, which results in an unflattering DVD experience. Colors are weak, with the exception of Katie's blaring lip hues, and black levels lack sufficient detail.

Audio:

The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix doesn't jump out of the speakers. This is a low-budget comedy, leaving most of the audio dynamic to the soundtrack cuts. Dialogue and music are separated satisfactorily.

Extras:

Deleted scenes (3 minutes) answer the eternal question: what's the deal with the toothbrush bit? Trust me, it's a ridiculous character detail and solved in a goofy, unfinished scene with Wilson and Simpson conversing about oral fixations on the ledge of a "building" (aka green screen stage).

"'Blonde Ambition:' Behind the Scenes with the Cast and Crew" (9 minutes) describes the film as perfect for "Jessica fans." I wasn't aware there was a subculture devoted to her. Filled with interviews, BTS footage, and a discussion of Willie Nelson's appeal and professional demeanor, this EPK filler is easy enough on the senses until Joe Simpson describes Andy Dick as a "brilliant comedian." Man, just go back to ogling your daughter and be quiet.

No theatrical trailer is included, but peeks at "Dragon Wars," "My Mom's New Boyfriend," "Across the Universe," "Feel the Noise," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind: 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition," "Jackie Chan's The Myth," and "The Covenant" are included.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Jessica Simpson is awful in "Blonde Ambition" and while the unfortunate face of the finished product, she's the least of the problems facing this dreadful motion picture. Everyone associated with this debacle, from the director to the caterer, should hang their head in shame.


For further online adventure, please visit brianorndorf.com
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