Halle Berry’s Catwoman
So much heckling. So. Much. Heckling. I know this must blow your mind — someone saw Halle Berry’s Catwoman and has a bunch of snotty comments to make? Jinkies, what a scoop! But here’s the deal — when someone says a movie is bad, I like to know EXACTLY what is bad about it. Bad acting? Bad internal logic? Bad what? Is it bad enough to be good (Van Helsing, Center Stage) or just bad enough to be irritating (L.A. Confidential, Sphere)? Would I watch some of it if it came on TV?
Catwoman for me was missing the high camp that makes a bad movie good. The acting wasn’t bad, just lacking — with the exception of Benjamin Bratt, who was at his “Law & Order” darndest, and Sharon Stone, who knew exactly what movie she was in and dialed it up to 11. If Halle Berry had played it to the back row, or if she`d had that Bruce Campbell sly-boots-ness that rings my chimes so strongly, this movie could have hanged ten in the badness department. Still, as it was, it was nice and bad anyway.
Oops, I thought this was Dogwoman. Mah bad.
I went with my preferred heckling partner, and many of the following heckles are hers.
There are spoilers galore here. I hope you don’t mind.
- The plot hangs on an evil skin cream that makes people sick if they use it and hideous if they don’t. Mmm, sounds like Fen-Phen. When they show you how your skin rots if you stop using it, it’s with this morphing 3-D model of a test subject. That was handy — hey, rotting model, remember when we did that morphing before-and-after of how this skin cream made you look younger? We need you to come back now that you’re rotten and sit in the same chair with the same lighting and swivel around a bit so we can do the morphing effect for the rotting as well. Have to find a way to keep the company CGI department quiet — maybe we`ll blast them through a poo chute (more on that later).
- Kind of hard to tell how long this product’s been around — it hasn’t been launched yet, but Sharon Stone’s used it so much it turned her skin to stone (huzzah wha? She’s playing it awful big for being stone `n` stuff; and yet Halle’s bosomy friend (Alex Borstein, who rules but is utterly sodomized by this role) has been using it for over a month and has no serious side effects either way.
- Except she faints. This reminds me that she is hospitalized — paper gown and everything — for DAYS because she fainted. Break me offa piece of that health plan! No wonder all these good people are working for an evil cosmetics company — you can’t get that kind of health insurance anywhere else.
- The Merovingian plays the head of the evil cosmetics company, and despite being the most Gallic looking dude since the Triplets of Belleville he plays an Englishman (I know `cause he says “bloody” in the veddy Britishest way ever). Guess a Frenchman couldn’t run a cosmetics company. Guess he really wouldn’t pronounce Beauline as “bo-line” instead of “be-yoo-line,” like everybody in the movie does. Also he’s nicely scene-chewing, `cause he’s only got like 10 lines to communicate his evilness, not like the 5 or 6 hundred he had in The Matrix.
- Not sure where Halle Berry works. It’s apparently the advertising/art department of a cosmetics company, because The Merovingian can show up and chew her out and fire her. Yet it’s in a building far removed from the enormous office (with it’s own enormous waste-treatment facility underneath — get to that in a second). And later on she tells Benjamin Bratt she works at an advertising firm. Huzza wha? So hard to keep track of where one works. Maybe she’s lying to throw Detective Bratt off her trail, but it doesn’t play like that, and this movie is not that sophisticated.
- Halle Berry is killed by poo. I assumed from the trailers that she gets shot, but no — one of the bad guys presses a handy poo-shooting button and blasts her out of some huge poo pipes into a vast poo wasteland in bizarre proximity to New York City (New Jersey? OMG just kidding New Jersey |20×0|2!!!). There she goes from floating face down in in poo water to lying face up on a poo island (eww don’t drink the water NYC). This causes no broken bones, disfigurement or pulled muscles — just death, and she doesn’t even seem to die by drowning, since she doesn’t koff up any water when she’s revived. Anyway, on poo island a computer generated cat (OMG Mrs. McGonagall!!!) sits on her chest (can’t get a real cat to do that, apparently) and breathes funky cat breath on her (wait, a cat CAN do this — I saw Cat’s Eye!) So she comes back to life and staggers home like Torgo and punches in her own window (don’t worry — she doesn’t hurt her hand, and it’s fixed somehow the next time you see it). The next morning she’s in fresh clothes and no longer covered in poo (don’t tell me she licked herself clean EWWW!!!)
- Speaking of clothes, both Catwoman and Patience dress like holy crap: Patience like an anorexic art student, and Catwoman like a Frederick’s of Hollywood fire sale. It’s the one thing that unifies their characters — I could make a rotten, ancient cat pun here, but instead I`ll leave it to the next point.
The way you dress… is scan-da-lous…
- The cat puns are stupid and frequent. Catwoman tells some (really non-subtle and non-discreet) jewel thieves “What a purrrrrfect idea,” and it doesn’t even make sense! Robbing a jewelry store is a perfect idea? There’s another cat pun quick on the heels of it, but I think I blocked it out. I was waiting for her to do the “meow” thing from Super Troopers. Well, I think Halle’s a pussy who should write a litter to her clawyer fa fa fa OMG!!!11
- This brings me to the general issue with Catwoman’s apartment — it’s seedy and ghetto enough to have wild insanely loud parties (hint for later #1 — call the police about it, maybe even your police friend who’s assigned to every case ever; but the apartments themselves are ENORMOUS. Hers makes the flat from “Friends” look like a walk-in closet, and the loud party people are apparently living in The Cat’s Cradle.
- The playground fight/seduce-off, which sucked only slightly less in Daredevil, was this series of short swooping shots that made it look like an ad for three-legged jeans (a leg and a leg and a leg). I had a larf when Halle dunked, not just `cause it looked like Air Bud dunking, but because she falls FORWARD from the dunk on top of Benjamin Bratt way back at the free throw line. Silly.
- What also reminded me of Daredevil was this movie’s abbreviated love scene. What I really REALLY wanted in both of these movies, with their schtupping heroes with super-heightened senses, was a little “ngh ngh OHHH! I`m really sorry. That’s never happened to me before.”
- There were a couple of ridiculous signs to help establish the establishing shots. One, which I didn’t even notice, was that the police station had a big red neon sign in the window that said “POLICE.” I don’t know NYC — maybe police stations really do have neon signs that say “POLICE” like “Hot Fresh Now” but different. But there was also a charity fair with a big billboard next to it that said something like “FUNDRAISER FOR GOOD CAUSE.” Says Heckler #1: “That’s not a good use of money.” Says Heckler #2: “These people are already THERE. Who needs a sign?”
- I can’t believe, with a hero named Patience, and all the refreshing midnight walks, they couldn’t throw in a little G`n`R. “AH BEEN WALKIN` THE STREEETS AT NAYEEEET!”
- There was a motif with midnight that was silly. The magical cat was named Midnight, despite being a regular-ass-looking gray and black cat (apparently Egyptian Maus just look regular-ass). Hint for later #2 — you can’t name something Midnight unless it is BLACK. Or an awesome chocolate-chocolate-chip cookie from the Pacific Cookie Company, and then it can be only a Dr. Midnight. Gawd, I got to get back to California. Anyway, this was not an ironic name, like calling a big dude “Tiny.” Also, Patience has to turn in a project at midnight (not email it or put it on a file server, but PHYSICALLY BRING IT to evil cosmetics HQ across town). Also, the evil skin cream is being released at midnight. But fortunately Patience must have just watched American Graffiti and can apply that knowledge to stop a fleet of 18-wheelers. Owowowowo.
- Catwoman was CGI more than half the time. It was like how when you watch a cartoon, and someone’s looking for a secret passage, you can tell where it is because it’s going to move in a second so it’s a cell on top of the background and it stands out. When suddenly you look over at Catwoman and she looks fake as Lindsay Lohan’s cans you know she’s about to do something wacky.
- I got to give a whole bullet to Sharon Stone. She was like an albino baby bird storming in and out of a Mexican soap opera — turning her back on her scene partner, delivering dialogue into mirrors, shoving around glasses of ice in the international hand sign for “I’ve been drinking.” She even pulls out a red silk hankie so she can (intentionally) fake cry into it. It’s awesome when Halle gives herself the same mangy mislayered haircut so they can have a lipstick-lesbian-off. When they fight, Sharon Stone says she can’t be hurt since the evil skin cream made her stony, even when Halle gives her these insane roundhouse kicks `n` stuff (okay, then aim for the chest how `bout?). This is weird since she gets offed by falling out a window like two stories. Oh well.
- BRAWWK I almost forgot! Detective Bratt, adrift without his Orbach, notices a “Sorry” note written for him on a coffee cup looks just like the “Sorry” note Catwoman leaves on a brown bag. He has it examined by handwriting analysis specialist at the department who, in the movie’s single thuddingest, dorkiest moment, explains the difference between the handwriting samples (one is shy, one is self-confident; despite the fact they look EXACTLY THE FREAK ALIKE. And leaving aside the issue that both these women wrote “Sorry” in identical black ink as notes! And leaving aside the fact that later Bratt finds out they’re both slim hot mulatto women! But still he has to find a jeweled cat claw (from an ugly-ass necklace) before he starts catching on. And THEN he goes to a lip print analysis specialist who finds a conclusive match between two funky lip prints. Here’s where I notice all the police technology in this movie is right out of Minority Report — huge rooms with freakishly large flat-panel monitors and images you can just magically drag and drop on each other. Who says Dubya slashed NYPD funding?
- Incidentally, as my co-heckler pointed out, having Det. Bratt interrogate Halle is a bit of a conflict of interest, y`think? At least she gets to have a good dramatic cry to remind you she won an Oscar (she coulda just told Det. Bratt “I want you to make me feel good.” Maybe when they were taking shelter in the flower shop that keeps all its flowers out even when it’s closed.)
- While I`m being snotty about technology, there were some really sophisticated fonts on the websites that Patience visits. As I asked my co-heckler, where my sans-serif is at? One more — the huge silent TV in the middle of nowhere that Patience sees the police sketch on. Huzzah wha? Do they just randomly have these in NYC, broadcasting breaking who-cares news and not ads? Okay, one more — Sharon Stone calls Halle on a video-phone thingy (I`m not real up on phones; and when Halle picks up she turns dramatically toward the phone camera (who’s holding it? What was she looking at?) to say “It’s me.” SHE CAN SEE YOU! DURR! And is this a phone conversation, or a video message, or what? ARRGH!
- Okay, must calm self down. The big picture — the big picture is what’s important. The ostensible message of this movie is to be yourself, which for Halle would ostensibly be a merging of Catwoman and Patience (OMG so like the end of Long Kiss Goodnight!!!) But Halle gets in touch with her true self and, um, it’s pretty much how she was in the third act — Catwoman sometimes and Patience sometimes. Message received… and discarded. She does squeeze through her prison bars, which is cool (ewww Senator Kelly!) but irrelevant to the true-to-your-self message she just got. Then about thirty second later she appears to teleport. Um. Why didn’t you just majick yourself out of the prison cell in the first place? She’s also wearing a cuddly version of the Kill Bill yellow track suit. Once again, I am reminded of how much more I would have liked this movie if the main female had been Gogo Yubari.
- Far and away the biggest mistake this movie made was making reference to Michelle Pfeiffer’s honest-to-God Selina Kyle Catwoman. She’s in a spread of photos at Frances Conroy’s house (an incredibly nice one to be in downtown NYC and owned by a retired college professor; and she stuck out like a non-sore thumb on a hand that’s been crushed in a vise. There’s also a fight/seduce moment where Halle holds up a severed cable shooting sparks and tells Det. Bratt something like “I knew there was a spark between us,” just like Michelle does to Max Shreck in Batman Returns (best DC superhero movie ever, BTW, if you take out some of The Penguin). This would be like going on a blind date and being like, “Hey, Salma Hayek, I`m nervous — could you come with me?” Not a good plan! You`d look like crap and she`d be embarrassed to be there.
Let me cleanse your palate.
Gawd, that was a lot. I can’t stop heckling sometimes. If you need more Halle heckle, here’s someone else’s vigorous (but brief) heckle of Monster’s Ball.
One thing that amazed me was how PG this movie was. No sex, no bad language, hokey violence — just dry as a bone. It reminds me that Alien vs. Predator is PG-13, which is refrikkadiculous. How can you take two intensely R-rated franchises and stir them up into hard and tasteless PG-13 muffins? I was excited for a while, when I figured out this was going to be a movie and not just a video game, and now — not so much.