Stereotyping, preachy, patronising gay-themed rom-com
Three to Tango
(12) 98 mins *
Gay archrtect Peter (Olrver Platt) and strarght archrtect Oscar (Matthew Perryt are on the brrnk of Wrnmng a lucratrve contract to desrgn a multr- mrllron dollar cultural centre rn Chrcago. Therr careers rest m the hands of tycoon Charles (Dylan McDermottl, who rs havrng an affarr wrth free- sprrrted artrst Amy (Neve Campbell). Though marrred hrmself, Charles suffers from acute Jealousy and, mrstakenly belrevrng Oscar to be gay, enc0urages hrm to hang out wrth Amy rn order to spy on her. It’s an opportunrty to seal or sever the desrgn contract, so Oscar begrudgrngly agrees to play gay, but matters are complrcated, at by berng voted gay busrnessman of the year, and bl by
Oscar and Amy fallrng rn love.
Thrs set-up srmultaneously compounds Hollywood stereotyprng of gay men as asexual clowns, whrle hypocrrtrcally preachrng about tolerance between the gay and strarght communrtres. So whrle Perry fumbles foreplay wrth Campbell, Platt rs relegated to 'wrtty’ observatrons, and the frlm's clrmax sees Perry comrng out of the closet to a gay audrence as a strarght man. Wrth patronrsmg lecture,
Drspensrng wrth her Scream queen, Campbell rs pleasrngly goofy and cute, whrle McDermott plays the suave playboy wrth style. But the usually relrable Platt sleepwalks through a thankless part and Perry clrngs to hrs rrrrtatrngly overused frdgety, nerdy Frrends persona. (Mrles Frelderl =15: General release from Fri 30 Jun,
A personal interest perspective on a dramatic social problem
Not One Less
(U) 100 mins ~21 a >2 a 1* Acclarmed Chrnese drrector Zhang Yrmou has garnered qurte a reputatron both for faCrlrtatrng and furtherrng the career of hrs c0untry's frnest actress, Gong Lr, and for renderrng the harsh extremrtres of the stunnrng Chrnese countrysrde. Affectronately known rn Chrna as the 'peasant drrector', Yrmou's latest frlm, whrle marked by the absence of hrs favourrte leadrng lady, once agarn sets rts scene rn an rsolated, rmpoverrshed vrllage.
It’s here that a teacher of a small school rs forced to leave the eclucatron of hrs 28 puprls rn the hands of a thrrteen-year-old substrtute for a month Predrctably the yOung grrl, Wer Mrnzhr, knows lrttle to teach, but nonetheless she’s determrned to secure the bonus she’s promrsed rf she ensures
24 THE lIST 22 Jun—6 Jul 2000
that none of the puprls drop out before the teacher returns, Herern lres the problem: wrth poverty forcrng over one mrllron students to leave school to look for work every year rn Chrna, Wer rs set the task of retrrevrng a desperate student from the brg crty,
Essentrally, thrs rs a persOnal rnterest perspectrve on a dramatrc socral problem, but those wrth lrttle rnterest rn Chrnese socral polrtrcs can rest assured that thrs rs also a thoroughly entertarnrng and movrng frlm that utterly endears us to the characters. These are all played by non- professronals usrng tlrerr own names, and the calrbre of the heart-rendrng performance by Mrnzhr makes the frlm all the more rmpressrve.
(Catherrne Bromleyl ‘2‘: Glasgow: GFT,‘ Eclrnburgh: Cameo from M 23 Jun.
In All Innocence (En
plein coeur) 15) 101 mins
Mrddle-aged lawyer Mrchel (Gerard Lanvrnl comes rnto contact wrth gorgeous young thrng Cecrle (Vrrgrnre Ledoyenr after she’s accused of breakrng rnto a Jewellery shop. He has a beautrful wrfe (Carole Bouquet,l and a grand Parrsran lrfestyle. Cecrle has lrttle more than a lovely face and rmmense chutxpah: she asks Lanvrn to defend her after frndrng hrs address rn the wallet she stole from hrs coat at an upmarket gallery event. He takes on her case -- for free
Thrs rs plot-drrven French crnema rn the style of L’Apparternent and Place Venclcﬂne, but wrth enough of a socral edge to hrnt at 90s French frlms Wrth a polrtrcal conscrence The Bart and La Harne In fact, the frlm's story comes as readrly from class contrasts and srmrlarrtres as the expected sexual entrcements. Cecrle may tempt Gerard wrth a flash of her knrckers rn hrs offrce, but rt’s also the notron that she comes from the same poor drstrrct of Pantrn that draws Mrchel rn
Adapted from Georges Srmenon's novel, drrector Prer'r'e Jolrvet has a few problems convIncrng us that the wealthy lawyer rs the drmmest character rn the frlm. But rn castrng Beach beauty Ledoyen rt makes sense that Mrchel's brarns temporarrly frnd themselves between hrs trouser pockets Thrs rs French crnema rf not at rts best then perhaps at rts most effrcrent (Tony McKrbbrm I Edinburgh; Fr/rnhous‘e from Mon 26 Jun
Chill Factor (15) 101 mins
OK, so we've got thrs hrghly volatile frozen chernrcal compound capable of blowrng a hole through next week Let's lrghten the srtuatron and call rt ’Elvrs' and because we're rn a brt of a hurry to frnalrse some test results, let's do a rush-Job test and see what happens. A brg explosron later we have some very embarrassed mrlrtary personnel, a gurlty screntrst and an army captarn out for revenge
Ten years go by when on cue regular Joe, Mason (Skeet Ulrrc'h‘r, rs rnrndrng hrs own and heaclrng steadrly towards berng rn the wrong place at the wrong trme Mason rs not alone, however, when the gurlty SCrentrst asks hrm wrth hrs dyrng breath to delrver ‘Elvrs’ safely to another mrlrtary base before the dastardly captarn gets hrs evrl mrtts on rt He’s Jorned by another poor fool, an rce-cream delrver'y drrver' named Arlo (Cuba Goodrng Jr), and together they set about fusrng the wrtty repartee of the buddy movre wrth the race agarnst trme whrte-knuckle rrde of the contemporary actron frlm
Drrec‘tor‘ Hugh Johnson pulls rt off, too, and desprte no great orrgrnalrty rn theme and executron, Chr/l Factor rs nonetheless a thoroughly entertarnrng actron romp (Catherrne Br'omleyl I General release from Fr/ 23 Jun
Isn't She Great (15) 93 mins ' More a hasty bropsy than a bro-prc, thrs flrmsy, underwrrtten comedy rs based very loosely on the lrfe of Valley Of The Dolls wrrter Jacguelrne Suzann played by Bette Mrdler Su7ann's dOtrng, ptrberrst husband lrvrng Mansfreld (Nathan Lanel narrates the story of her frght agarnst breast cancer, and agarnst lrterary taste, to top the bestseller lrst and wrn the fame she so coveted Therr frrend Flo (Stockard Channrngl adds a nrce lrne, advrsmg that ’talent rsn't everythrng’
ls'n’t She Great spans four decades from the 40s to the 70s but, desprte Stewart Wurtzel's pretty clesrgns, doesn’t really convrnc'e rn any of them The characters, whrle lrkeable, look and feel as rf they're appearrng off-Broadway -- whrch rs perhaps approprrate but more lrkely ac‘c'rdental That rt was adapted from an artrcle rn the New Yorker shows rn the way cer‘tarn scenes have been so carelessly tacked on, par'trc ularly those conc‘ernrng Mansfrelcl's' and Suzann's autrs‘trc son
But then, subtlety has rarely been St/rptease drr'ec‘tor Andrew Bergman’s strong SUIt. The frlm does have rts moments though, plus a pleasant enough (rf rather havnmyl cast, rncludrng Davrcl Hyde Prerce (Fras‘rer’s eres Cranet, John Cleese and Amanda Peet Also, rt's upbeat, unsc-tntrmental < and short (John MacKenrre‘ I General release from Frr 23 Jun
French cinema at its most efficient
More hasty biopsy than bio-pic