As if the title alone wasn't enough to lock this loathsome feature film in a trunk and sink it to the bottom of the ocean, it also stars Paris Hilton. The mere mention of her name is enough to make one break out in hives, but the everlasting media whore isn't the worst thing about "Hottie," and that, my friends, is a shocking turn of events.
Nate (Joel David Moore, "Grandma's Boy") is a loser who wants to reverse the tide of his failed relationships by chasing after childhood love, Cristabelle (Paris Hilton). Attempting to woo her, Nate is promised carnal delights if he can find a boyfriend for Cristabelle's total opposite: the disgusting June (Christine Lakin). Balding, and cursed with rotting teeth and braidable body hair, hooking June up is a tall order, and as Nate goes about getting a man interested in her, he finds she's much more than fungal toenails and unibrow. She's all woman, and as the layers of ick are peeled away, Nate's has serious doubts which girl he's actually attracted to.
It's almost needless to describe how awful "Hottie" is. It's a total and complete misfire of intention and execution; an utterly worthless, unfunny sack of pain that doesn't deserve anyone's time or attention. It's best to ignore it, like one might avoid say the plague or an episode of "Two and a Half Men." Oh yes, it's that bad.
However, to lunge at Hilton's throat for this botched abortion is too easy and truly not where this trail of tears leads. The culprit is Joel David Moore, an actor who, for some unknown reason, was told early on in his career that he was funny, and now we all have to pay for this demonic miscalculation of talent.
Moore fancies himself the comedic conductor of "Hottie," improvising and stuttering his way through scenes, as if the film was entirely dependent on his spastic participation and nonstop nasal line-readings. I haven't seen much of Moore in dramatic settings, and lord only knows why James Cameron dropped the actor into his upcoming blockbuster "Avatar," but there's one feeling I hold without a drop of doubt in my mind: Joel David Moore is comedy poison. They should make it illegal for this guy to pursue the funny business.
Past Moore, there's director Tom Putnam and writer Heidi Ferrer. Putnam comes off as low-budget lackey, who stumbled into this somewhat high-profile gig by accident. His direction reflects a man who shouldn't be chasing filmmaking as a full-time gig. To him, if the action in the frame isn't repulsive (lots of gross-out humor here), it just isn't worth committing to film. Ferrer is the more fascinating trainwreck of this production. Writing a fable where a woman is unable to prove her worth until she conforms to mainstream ideas of beauty, Ferrer sets her own sex back 40 years with this turkey, not to mention revealing her unease with originality and fear of wit.
Presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1 aspect ratio), "Hottie" runs a little too hot on DVD, with fleshtones very pink and the cinematography slightly blown out. There are a few mild print defects, but the rest of the transfer is adequate.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is a little thin, straining to separate dialogue from soundtrack selections. There's not much sonic depth here, but for a low-budget film, booming dimension wasn't expected. A 2.0 mix is available as well.
As proof that no higher power exists, two feature-length audio commentaries have been provided. The first experience is with actors Joel David Moore and Christine Lakin, and producer Hadeel Reda, and it's a doozy. For starters, Moore describes the picture as "a nice mix of funny gag comedy and romantic comedy," and he's completely serious. From there, the trio chats up the dangerous stunts; bemoan the trouble with Paris's paparazzi horde; share how Moore once removed his chest hair with duct tape; point out the "wonderful" improvisations from the cast; and suggest how the film is ultimately "touching."
These people have nothing interesting to say about the film.
The second track is handed over to screenwriter Heidi Ferrer and producer Reda. Ferrer sheds some light on the origin of the project, how the script came from her own experiences, and underlines the psychological points of the picture for the two people out there in the world that might encounter trouble following the emotional arc of the film.
Reda also describes Ferrer's work as a "strong script." Clearly this woman should never be allowed to produce another film.
"Photo Gallery" (1:56) is self-explanatory, but it offers the viewer a chance to experience the film in less than two minutes. If you must see this garbage, this is the way to do it.
"Video Dating Footage" (7:29) is an extended look at a gag matchmaking video. If you love dreadful improvisation, this supplement is for you.
"Paris and Joel in the Make-up Room" (5:52) has Paris trying to make her co-star a pretty, pretty man with her cosmetic stash. Comedic value? Zero.
Finally, a theatrical trailer is included, along with peeks at "Girls Rock!," "A Very Cool Christmas," and "Show Business: The Road to Broadway."
Yes, "Hottie and the Nottie" is as ghastly as it sounds. The picture attempts to mask the stank with copious amounts of bronzed, jiggly Paris flesh, but let's get real here: been there, done that. At this point, Paris is never going to be a respectable actress, and her appearance in the film signals an astonishing lack of imagination and basic design of competence from the production. So, one can imagine the disgust of watching of movie where she's the best thing in it.
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