Given the massive accessibility of porn these days — you can practically imprint it on your brain now — one wonders why a few shots of Jessica Biel’s boobies would invite so much discussion (see, e.g., every gossip blog in existence). Why is it when a celebrity takes off her top, grown men start acting like 12-year-old boys who just witnessed their first cable-scrambled glimpse of tit? Come on now: If you’re old enough to watch Powder Blue, certainly you’re old enough to have seen a pair or two in your life. Why the fuss over the fact that they belong to the star of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry? Is there some weird misconception that I don’t know about that celebrity breasts — properly iced and gravity defying — are more impressive than, say, Sasha Grey’s, whose you can find via Google in under half a second? Or is it the allure of the unknown, which is essentially erased the moment you see a pair of celebrity funbags? Whatever it is, I’m glad it rarely translates into an actual audience, especially now that you can find what you’re looking for online. It’s certainly not a reason to devote two hours of your life to a movie, which is probably why Powder Blue is only getting a token theatrical release before being dumped into the fast-forward friendly bargain bins are your local Best Buy.
And what of Jessica Biel’s breasts in Powder Blue? For what it’s worth, I won’t lie: They’re spectacular (let’s be honest, though: It’s hard to disappoint a guy — even one whose sexuality is often called into question — with a naked pair of breasts. Nearly any pair will do) . The movie, however, is not spectacular. Powder Blue, in fact, is sort of an unintentional parody of the interweaving storyline (or hyperlinked) flick. It’s essentially a very bad imitation of Crash, Magnolia and Babel diluted, swallowed, partially digested and regurgitated back on screen in sepia tones with a Biel Boobie Logo emblazoned across it. Indeed, for all its melodramatic flourishes, it’s powerfully dull. And for all the talent assembled, it’s farcically acted. I’m just amazed at how Vietnamese director Timothy Linh Bui (Green Dragon) managed to put together this cast for a script that couldn’t have possibly read any better than it appears on the screen.
Biel plays Rose Johnny, a stripper with a heart of
gold clay and a comatose son laid up on the hospital (Patrick Swayze — who looks like Eminem disguised as Bret Michaels — is the sleazy club owner). Despite a liberal personal dress code, an ability to Kama Sutra a stripper pole, and an awesome talent for pouring hot candle wax all over her naked body (isn’t that an old Madonna gag?), Rose isn’t very good with men. Soon enough, however, an older, sickly gentleman (Ray Liotta) just released from prison after 25 years and reunited with a large sum of loot takes a strange fancy toward Rose. He wants to hang around the strip club and get to know Rose, but he’s very uncomfortable with the idea of Rose trying to manipulate his Henry Hill underneath his waistband (although the movie thinks its trying to slip something past you, it’s brain-damaging obvious what the relationship between the older gentlemen and his daughter the stripper is).
Meanwhile, an asthmatic mortician with the temple-piercing name Qwerty Doolittle (Eddie Redmayne) is having problems of his own — his inherited funeral parlor is going under, he really wants to be a puppeteer, he has a tendency to faint around pretty women, and damnit: He hit a dog with his car. Oh, but good news! Good news! That dog belongs to the unbelievably hot stripper with no luck with men. Wow! What a pair they’d make if only fate could somehow bring them together in this interweaving storyline movie.
Tenuously connected to the main subplots (somebody forgot to brush up on their interweaving skills, tsk tsk) is Charlie (Forrest Whitaker), a suicidal widower who is trying to pay a pre-op transsexual prostitute enough money to make her post-op if only she’d put a bullet in his heart. Charlie, when he’s not busy trying to get other people to shoot him, spends his nights moping at a diner where — wouldn’t you know — a character played by Lisa Kudrow serves him coffee. But damnit, she’s in an unhappy relationship with another man. Oh, woe. Somber, dreary, blue-tinted woe.
If only it could somehow snow in Los Angeles while melancholy piano music played in the background, all these poor people’s problems could finally be solved! Except for yours, because that would suggest that you sat through the entire thing, sucker. But I’ll do you a solid, fellas, lesbians, and celebrity breasts enthusiasts: Here’s all you need to know: 01:09:03.