The Hottie and the Nottie
, 26 Jul 2008
Ive seen some sick, demented, things over the course of watching something in excess of 4000 movies. Ive ploughed my way through Cannibal Holocaust, The Toolbox Murders and many other video nasties. Ive suffered the hopelessly inept likes of Date Movie and A Certain Sacrifice and Ive somehow sat through the vomit inducingly offensive Pumpkin. And yet I still feel like The Hottie and the Nottie has reached a new low, a place so despicably terrible that it may scar me for life and should be supplied with not just a piracy warning but a health warning. I feel like I need to bathe in disinfectant to wash the stench away.
Hottie tells the story of Nate (Moore) who has been in love with Christabel (Hilton) since first grade, though he hasnt seen her since then. Tracking her down to LA he finds that Christabel will only agree to date him if he agrees to find someone special for her epically ugly best friend June (Lakin). Guess what happens.
Its not so much the outline of the story, okay its generic, the same Pygmalion riff weve seen a million and six times, but its not actually offensive. Its the way events play out that makes you want to scrub your eyes with a brillo pad. Heres why; if The Hottie and the Nottie were a person it would be a jackbooted, armband sporting, sieg heiling Nazi. Its an easy charge to make, and its been made (erroneously) in the past in reference to films like Starship Troopers and Fight Club but honestly, at times this feels less like a film than an advert for eugenics.
To finally get the man (as we all know she must) Junes inner beauty doesnt come through, allowing Nate to see past her looks, no, instead she goes through an array of cosmetic surgery. The message of this movie isnt that love is blind its that you MUST conform or you will go through life alone. Unconventionally attractive? F**K YOU screams The Hottie and the Nottie, for in this world there is no such thing, you WILL fit the cookie cutter ideal of beauty or you will die a pathetic virgin.
Virginity is another thing that is demonised in this film, as much as sex is constantly idealised. Nate doesnt seem to have any feelings for Christabel that emanate from above his groin. Nothing here indicates that he loves her, he merely wants to f**k her (something which she, classy, classy girl that she is, implies hell get to do the second he finds June that special someone) and rather than having a change of heart and deciding that, hey, that June might be the right girl for me he seems merely to look at her post-surgery and decide Oh shes hot now, perhaps Id rather f**k her.
The deeply suspect messages of the film continue in its treatment of alcohol. Christabel is constantly drinking, yet she never seems to suffer ill effects and all the characters seem to treat booze almost as medicinal. For a film that is clearly pitched at teenagers this is hugely irresponsible, it may as well flash up cards saying, Drink. Solves all your problems.
Not a single character (I use the word in the loosest sense possible) has a through line. They all seem to be different people depending on what scene you are watching with only the barest of traits to suggest that these arent actually a bunch of disconnected characters that were watching (Nate is obsessed with Christabel. Christabel is a total slut, but concerned about June. June is disgusting, until her surgery.)
Some of the films shallowness might be excusable (though the fascist outlook would still be reprehensible) were it in any sense competently executed, but its not, so its offensive in terms of quality as well as attitude. To begin with, the casting is truly, epically dreadful. Paris Hilton has all the screen charisma and acting ability of a chair. Well, maybe thats unfair; I imagine there are a few chairs that could act her off the screen. The dead eyed Hilton never delivers any line in anything other than a flat, bored, monotone. Beyond that, though, her casting as the ultimate ideal of beauty is truly laughable. Hiltons look here is best described as Anorexic Whore Barbie, for all the times that people in the film nearly lose their lunch merely by looking at June it was Hilton who made me struggle to hold on to mine. Joel David Moore, relatively entertaining in Dodgeball and Hatchet, is also terrible, his comic timing set by a metronome that is hopelessly off the beat. Christine Lakin is, on this evidence, a quite staggeringly average actress, which makes her look like Meryl Streep among a cast that would have failed auditions for a nursery school nativity. If June had anything resembling a character Lakin might have been able to do something with it, but even the modicum of presence that she brings comes as welcome relief, even if it is the very definition of too little too late.
Its also worth singling out, though hes not in the movie much, The Greg Wilson (yes, thats how hes credited, I swear) as Moores best friend, as he gives perhaps the least funny performance ever to grace an alleged comedy.
Its not, though, like the performers ever had a chance. The script from which they are working is so apparently and so irrevocably broken that the cast could have comprised a peak form DeNiro, Streep and Spacek and it still would have been a hateful, depressing experience. The most surprising thing about this rampantly misogynistic piece of sewage is that it was written by a woman; take a bow Heidi Ferrer, youve set sexual equality back 30 years, may you be cursed if ever you lift a pen or approach a keyboard again. As well as being offensive bilge The Hottie and the Nottie is a comedy containing precisely no laughs, believe me, I looked for them. It features not one single line of dialogue that you would believe a real human would utter and its romantic scenes are so utterly devoid of feeling that you may never love again after watching them.
The parade of ineptitude doesnt stop there though, no, here comes Director Tom Putnam. Whatever Tom is hes not a film director. The Hottie and the Nottie has no visual identity at all. Its set in LA, but theres no sense of place. Its lit and shot with a flatness that makes it look like the worlds dullest looking sitcom. Theres not one frame here that looks like a professionally produced movie, it looks like something three blind 12 year olds shot on their summer holidays.
I didnt pay to see The Hottie and the Nottie, I saw it online, technically I was stealing from the filmmakers (which makes me feel like Ive done a small public service) and yet IM the one that feels robbed. Rather than feeling like I owe the ticket price for this film to its makers I feel like I should consider suing for the considerable emotional damage Ive suffered watching their excrementally awful product.
In case I wasnt clear about this: The Hottie and the Nottie is unfunny, offensive, misogynistic, hateful, evil and fascist.
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