The Hottie and the Nottie:
They sprinkled moon dust in Paris Hilton's hair or something. How else to explain the fact that a movie as dunder-headed, offensive, sleazy, stupid, poorly-acted and laugh-deficient as The Hottie and the Nottie got a theatrical release? I guess a slick veneer (or set of veneers in this case) and two halfway decent performances (given the material) will get you a lot these days. Hottie bombed hard at the box-office, and no-one's going to line up to buy the DVD, but it will probably do brisk rental business, with less-discriminating viewers mistakenly thinking it's 'cute,' or 'nice,' or 'funny.' It ain't.
Before we can work up some good bile, we see that one of the co-stars bills himself as The Greg Wilson. Dude, really? Slap us silly from the start - a start extremely broad, garnering laugh one-of-two before surrendering to the horrible 'comedy' music you hear, making you know you're supposed to think this is madcap, funny stuff. Woebegone Nate Cooper (Joel David Moore with the second best performance) finally realizes he's been miserable because he isn't with his first-grade crush Cristabel, a gal who's inconveniently morphed into Paris Hilton in the intervening years. Employing his comical friend Arno (Wilson, The) Nate tries to work the Hottie/Nottie algorithm, sucking up to Cristabel's hideous friend June Phigg (Christine Lakin with the winning performance) in order to get into La Hilton's pants. The following series of zany set-ups and improbabilities, slimed to a dull sheen by Hilton's bland acting, piles on gross-outs, male chauvinism and cutesy bonding sequences to such an extent that you hope and pray nobody goes home happy from the tragically predictable ending.
Often you can suss out a set up from ten minutes in. For Hottie, you know what's going to happen before you've finished reading the back of the DVD case. But you forge on (in my case only waiting for a cameo from my friend Scott Prendergast as Creepy Albino Stalker - a bit that sadly fails like everything else here, and also blasts by in the first minutes, so that by the 30 minute mark I had to restrain myself from going to get a book). Anyway, this movie featuring Hilton, Shaggy and what looks like a reject from The Planet of the Apes needs to decide if it's a gross-out comedy or a romance. Scenes of a guy getting hit in lips with a detached, infected toenail or shots of Phigg's hairy, pimpled backside aren't particularly amusing, and certainly not the fodder for a good date. These (literal and figurative) gags are offset by shots of Hilton's admittedly hot bod - talk about aversion therapy!
If only there were more talent in that body. Hilton's performance is flat, feigned and barely competent. She'd be perfect for an infomercial, yet she seems unable to even generate the slightest enthusiasm. She can't even jog convincingly. Much of that blame can be laid upon her ridiculous, unbelievable and underwritten character - a woman so pure of heart she doesn't seem to care who she ends up hitched to, as long as this person can get her hideous friend laid. At sea, Hilton resorts to her patented Princess Di look, face tilted to the floor, looking coyly up to whomever through fluttering false eyelashes - only where Di looked demure, Hilton can't seem to wipe that smirk off her face.
But all the inappropriate sick humor and half-hearted performances in the world couldn't save a movie with such a horrible heart. The outrageously ugly Phigg get-up is meant as satire, but it simply serves a bunch of ugly-girl misogyny. But, (SPOILERS APLENTY COMING UP) when that incredibly predictable thing happens it just makes things worse. Phigg, for all her grossness, is the most interesting character in the movie, but when she undergoes the inevitable Ally Sheedy/Breakfast Club transformation, she too becomes less compelling. And if anyone should happen to fall in love with 'what's inside' of Phigg, it can only happen when she's finally become the smoking hot hottie that we always knew she was. Ugly people of the world, remember, you are beautiful, you just have to wait for your body to catch up! (SPOILERS OVER.)
The Hottie and the Nottie is not the worst 90 minutes of your life, you might be a Sewer Diver, for instance. So, if flat, gross-out humor, unromantic romance, lackluster performances and ugly misogyny are your bag, Paris Hilton is bringing it to you!
Watching Hilton do yoga in 16 x 9 widescreen is pretty nice, I'll admit, and so also is the movie, presentation-wise. The image is clear and sharp, without any of the ills that come from poor mastering. I think I noticed one piece of dirt, but otherwise no overt film grain or damage. Colors are natural and fairly rich (except for Phigg's skin, which is awful and pasty).
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 English Audio tracks are available. Soundtrack and incidental music is quite up front in the mix, forcing a bit of remote riding to maintain a balance between dialog and sudden blasts of teeny-bopping, MOR emo-alt.rock. (Is there such a thing?) The mix and sound design seems fairly active but not too complicated.
Trailers for three (odd choice) movies start things off. After that, a two-minute auto-play Photo Gallery has more of that great soundtrack music over stills from the movie. That's hot. Not. The Theatrical Trailer should be viewed first, to ward you off from the movie. Adding insult to injury you get two commentary tracks, an Actor's Commentary, with a producer in tow to keep the actors in line, features Moore and Lakin. Hate to say it, and maybe it's due to the quality of the film, but this track is pretty boring - mostly like a dull, self-congratulatory EPK with some largely uninteresting behind-the-scenes stuff. If you're up for it there's a Production Commentary with screenwriter Heidi Ferrer and that same producer. Sure, OK, a woman writes it, but I still find the movie cruel. The more lively commentary, this one adds a tiny amount of heart to the film. Seven-minutes of fake Video Dating Footage, featuring four characters from Hottie, has more laughs than the entire movie. Finally, Paris Give Joel a Makeover. For nearly six minutes. These are way too many extras for a movie of this caliber.
Has Paris Hilton had her three strikes yet? Certainly she should be out after this lackluster, mish-mash of a movie. Between her flat acting, the ludicrous, predictable plot, offensive humor and attitude, there's little to like in The Hottie and the Nottie. The curious will likely give this movie a healthy second life on rental shelves, but you know what curiosity did to the cat. Save yourself, and Skip It.
- Kurt Dahlke
~ More of Dahlke's DVD Talk reviews here at DVD Talk I'm not just a writer, I paint colorful, modern abstracts, too! Check them out here KurtDahlke.com