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December 12, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | December 12, 2008 |

Earlier this week, I was alerted via the quick-witted wench over at theFlick Filosopher that the marketing folks at Anchor Bay Entertainment had made use of one of my quotes in marketing Kim Basinger’s housewife-in-jeopardy “thriller,” While She Was Out. And a quick check of the movie’s website revealed as much:

“For the Christmas season, prepare to be baptized by the Basinger.” —

It’s a pretty sweet quote, though it doesn’t take into account the derisive, tongue-in-cheek nature in which it was delivered, nor the fact, as The Flick Filosopher pointed out, that I had never actually seen the film. The quote, in fact, was from our write-up on the film’s trailer.

No matter. After having sat through While She Was Out, the spirit of the quote is nevertheless accurate. It just leaves out one important point: While She Was Out is a wet fart trapped inside queef. It stinks. It’s the cinematic equivalent of Cigarette Butt and Tuna Stew. It boldly mixes tedium with terrible actressin’, and delivers something akin to a being socked in the face by one of Patches O’Houlihan’s wrenches.

But as bad as While She Was Out is — and it’s bad enough to elicit an actual facial reaction in Keanu Reeves — there are still five scenes in this short, 80-minute film that damn near make suffering through the rest worth it. Four of those fives scenes involve Basinger doing that Baptizin’, and the manner in which she picks off her aggressors is so deliciously awesome Jason Bourne and his book-beating death scene would weep with jealousy. She pokes a tire iron through a man’s nostrils, people! Through a man’s nostrils! That is one hell of a Baptismal. Unfortunately, the rest of the film is so laughable, absurd, and illogical that most DVD players will spit it out with an audible, Pffffft, and shut down if you ever bring the disc within a ten-foot vicinity (and you’ll get a chance to test that theory on Tuesday — the theatrical window for While She Was Out is apparently only four days long).

While She Was Out begins in the gated, upper-middle class home of Della (Basinger). She’s a housewife with two children who can’t seem to keep her house clean, which provokes the unnecessary ire of her husband (Craig Sheffer), who punches a hole in the wall and sends her to the mall to buy wrapping paper. That’ll teach her.

Crowds being what they are at the mall, Della has to park half a mile away from the entrance because some asshole is double parked in two spots. After spending a grueling half hour buying coffee and purchasing the wrapping paper (each movement and purchase meticulously captured on film by director Susan Montford, so as to approach a film’s standard running time), she returns to the parking lot only to discover that her car has been cornered in by a bunch of thugs who didn’t appreciate the fact that she left a note on their window bitching because of their poor parking job. Also, because she called them “jerks.”

The suburban thugs, led by Chuckie (Lucas Haas), as in Cheese, don’t take kindly to being called “jerks,” so Chuckie pulls out his gun and threatens to “aim it at her pussy.” One thing leads to another, a mall cop is shot through the head, and Della goes on the run. Naturally, her cell phone is dead, and she — of course — drives her SUV into a dead end on the edge of a forest, this despite the fact that she had a full three-minutes head time and there was a crowded mall right fucking next to her. She crashes her car into the dead end, and the real absurdity begins when she pulls out her toolbox and roams through the forest with it. Indeed, no matter how much she’s being chased or at what speed, and no matter how many guns are being pointed at her, Della continues to run with that clumsy tool box. And I ain’t seen that much aimless running since LOTR.

For the next hour, the thugs throw mad dialogue at her, like “We goin’ to find you now, cunt,” “Don’t use the ‘N’ word if you ain’t representin’” and “Don’t worry. We got this. The world is our bitch,” and she throws at them tools from her little red toolbox. And that bitch can wield a tire iron, folks. Unfortunately, all the tire irons in the world won’t kill the endless dead space between killings, though if you fall into one of the plot holes and manage to crawl out unscathed, do let me know. I think I broke my tailbone.

The big mystery here is not in how the movie will end (absurdly), nor in why Basinger took the role (pent-up Baldwin anger), but in how Guilermo Del Toro got involved as executive producer? There are no watches in While She Was Out. There are no weird creatures or hobbits. There’s just ridiculosity. Dumbassery. And poor freaky-looking Haas trying to be bad-ass. It’s embarrassing, for sure. But with the right amount of alcohol and a compelling need to holler profanities at a movie screen, While She Was Out could make for a guffawtastic nostril-spurter.

Dustin Rowles is the publisher of Pajiba. He lives withi his wife and son in Portland, Maine You can reach him via email, or leave a comment below.

While She Was Out / Dustin Rowles

Film | December 12, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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