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February 11, 2008 | Comments ()


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Is “The Neither” an Option?

The Hottie and the Nottie / Stacey Nosek

Film Reviews | February 11, 2008 | Comments ()


Paris Hilton is by no means an attractive woman. I understand this statement might be debatable in some circles, but thankfully this is Pajiba, and therefore not one of them. Shockingly, Hilton’s square-jawed, reptilian-nosed, wonk-eyed features manage to fare even worse on the big screen than they do in glossy tabloid photos, although that may have partially been the result of excessive and misguided close-up shots. So if you’re wondering just how much makeup and prosthetics it took to transform moderately attractive, nondescript actress Christine Lakin, the titular “Nottie” of The Hottie and the Nottie, into a character that would make Hilton look good in comparison — your answer is a hell of a lot, and strangely not quite enough. And ironically, probably about the same amount that it takes to make Paris Hilton just look like “Paris Hilton” on your average, everyday basis. To play the role of June, a.k.a. “The Nottie,” Lakin dons a prosthetic scalp with thinning hair; malformed, discolored teeth; rotting toenails; hairy moles and acne; and a unibrow with a coat of all-over body hair. Because, get it? This girl is uuuugleee! But really, what better breakthrough starring role for Paris Hilton than an hour and a half long joke about an ugly girl? It’s just like “The Simple Life,” only the “pretty” one is more conveniently spelled out!

The plot itself is a blatant mishmash of There’s Something About Mary and 10 Things I Hate About You, scrubbed clean of humor, tact and any other redeeming qualities the two aforementioned films might contain. Nate Cooper (Joel Moore, who reads like the poor man’s Tom Green with even less charisma) is a 20-something who is habitually unlucky at love because he can’t get over his first ever crush, Cristabelle (Hilton), whom he lost track of after his family supposedly moved across the country (or something) after the first grade. After his latest relationship goes kaput, Nate looks up his old best friend from the first grade, “Arno” (an actor who goes by the professional name “The Greg Wilson,” which, incidentally, is funnier than anything in the movie), and drives across the country to enlist his help in tracking down Cristabelle. For some reason he was able to track down “The Arno” but not Cristabelle, which makes even less sense seeing that Arno’s character in the film is completely pointless, except maybe to add comic relief (spoiler alert — he adds none!) and has no scenes with any characters other than Nate. But I guess they had 90 whole minutes to fill, so there ya go. At any rate, Arno, an uber loser who lives with his mother, just happens to have helpfully been stalking Cristabelle for the past however many elapsed years and fills Nate in on the legendary “hottest girl in L.A.” Well, obviously, because from what I hear, the cosmetically enhanced, spray-tanned, bleach-blonde types are hard to come by in that town.

Arno warns Nate that to get to “The Hottie,” you have to get past “The Nottie.” Oh yeah, when you’re dealing with metaphors that brilliant, it’d be a damn shame to just waste them in the title of the film. The Hottie’s best friend, June (Lakin), is an ugly, awful, horrible girl who cock-blocks every guy that tries to get near Cristabelle, which is evidently half of L.A. After a meticulously stalked “chance meeting” that brings the two together, Cristabelle tells Nate that she feels bad for June because she never had a boyfriend and has vowed to put her own happiness aside until she finds her best friend a man, or at least “gets her laid.” Because, as she beautifully puts it: “A life without orgasms is like a world without flowers.”

Naturally, June becomes a bane to the budding relationship. I mean, ugly people are such a downer, always getting in the way of pretty people’s happiness. Am I right? Nate makes some progress until they meet up with Johann (Johann Urb), a Swiss-born, Harvard-educated, uh, dentist, and part-time fitness model who further complicates things by befriending the two women — purportedly, as Arno and Nate think, to move in on Cristabelle. Kudos to the casting director for finding an actor so bad (come on, his real name is the same as his character’s name!) that he almost makes Paris Hilton not look like the worst actor in the movie. I said almost. Of course, you can probably guess how this bullshit farce ends — with June getting a gradual, grand-scale makeover until she becomes amazingly attractive enough that Nate decides he wants to be with her instead, instilling the kind of moral you’d expect from a Paris Hilton movie: That beauty on the inside is meaningless until you’re pretty on the outside as well.

At no point does The Hottie and the Nottie ever approach anything near humor. It’s even uninspired as a gross-out sex comedy — the most disgusting moment involves an errant toenail finding its way into a possible “Nottie” suitor’s mouth. Other than the constant barrage of “she so ugly” jokes, it’s not even good at being tasteless. It’s not passable at being anything, really. Hilton, as expected, is as horrible an actress as any sack of flesh that’s ever been misplaced in front of a camera. She reads through her lines with the same baby-voiced, dead-eyed vacancy that anyone who has ever seen an episode of “The Simple Life” is probably familiar with. The only scenes she “excels” at (in the loosest sense of the word) are ones that feature her running in slow-mo, or dancing at a nightclub — the latter of which gives her a chance to show off her finely honed craft of flipping her hair and tossing her head around vacuously. But before you get yourselves into a huff over Paris Hilton becoming a box-office fixture, keep this in mind: I saw a Sunday afternoon matinĂ©e showing of The Hottie and the Nottie on its opening weekend at a bustling suburban multiplex, and I was the only person in the entire theater. So I think it’s pretty safe to say that the only Paris Hilton starring vehicles we’ll be seeing from here on out will be the variety involving night vision cameras.

Stacey Nosek is the world’s most articulate idiot, and a television columnist for Pajiba. You can also find her ripping on celebrities at Webster’s Is My Bitch.







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