Queer Cinema: D.E.B.S.

D.E.B.S. (2004) by Angela Robinson

d.e.b.s.-cover

Before it was a movie it was a comic and then a short film. I haven’t read the comic (there are glimpses of it on the dvd, though) but I vaguely remember having watched the short (after the feature) – so, if you’re so inclined there’s stuff to dive into after or before watching this gem. I’m calling it a gem because no matter how often I come back to this movie – and I have done so often over the years – it’s always a ride, it is always fun.

d.e.b.s.3There is a secret test in the S.A.T.s to establish a student’s ability to lie. If you’re good at it you’re invited to Jameson Academy for an education in the art of spying – that is if you’re a girl. Amy Bradshaw (Sara Foster) is one of the chosen few who studies at this institution and she is not just one of the lot, she is the perfect score, the one person who has hit all the marks in the S.A.T.s – the perfect liar. But Amy is not really happy with her life of spy-in-training which becomes perfectly clear when she falls for supervillain Lucy Diamond (Jordana Brewster). Lucy pulls her out of her every day life and shows her that there is something beyond everybody lying and people going through your personal files and a boyfriend who works for Homeland Security – there are dreams yet to be fulfilled. And when Amy is brought back, she finds out just how suffocating the path she had been chosen for really is. But there’s still time to change her mind.

If this sounds altogether too serious, too mundane then that’s my fault d.e.b.s.5because D.E.B.S. is everything but these things. It’s trashy, it’s colorful, it’s fun. Is it deep? No, not really. But do we really always need the tearful lesbian drama? No. A lesbian comedy is a rare thing and it needs to be cherished, at least if it’s as good as this one.

Robinson assembled a talented cast to shoot this persiflage of espionage movies: Jordana Brewster is well-known now for her role as Vin Diesel’s sister in the Fast and Furious-movies. Then there are Devon Aoki, Holland Taylor, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Jimmi Simpson in supporting roles. And they’re all wonderfully quirky and fun to watch.

d.e.b.s.1
When I say the movie’s trashy, I want understood that I do believe that’s a good thing. It’s a rare occasion when a big studio produces a movie that centers around a lesbian love story but to make something that looks so good and at the same time cheap and cheesy… it takes some really talented people to do that. From the evil lair over Holland Taylor’s fabulous impersonation of vain Ms. Petrie to those short plaid shirts, the jokes hit the nerve. The music accompanying some scenes fits just as well.

d.e.b.s.4

Is it all good? No, but as I said – it’s fun and sometimes that’s the best thing you can get. Will it be your new favorite movie? Probably not. It will probably not even be among your favorite movies but there will be those days you look through your dvds and come across it and be glad it’s there.

Advertisements

The Invention of Lying – and the birth of all religion

The Invention of Lying (2009) by Matthew Robinson and Ricky Gervais

So, I went to a mystery movie preview last night (that’s when they don’t tell you the movie you are going to watch – it’s less expensive and fun if you do not happen to come across a film with an actor you abhorr, i.e. Tom Cruise). I did it the first time and I must say the concept actually scares me. Back in the days I dreaded going to the movies without knowing what I was going to watch, especially when I was meeting someone. I always wanted to make sure beforehand that I would not be coerced into something I didn’t want to watch. Consequently, going to a movie where I didn’t even know what I was going to watch while already having paid for the ticket is close to a heart attack for me. Just imagine what would happen if I came across a really bad movie.

But I got lucky (with the movie, you perverts!). I remember having seen the trailer once which did not make much of an impression, I guess. But the movie… I mean, just like the next person, I love an English accent and Ricky Gervais certainly has one. But it was not only him, it was the idea:

Imagine a world where nobody can lie – and then there is this average guy who suddenly can. And he tells people lies not only to gain something from it but sometmes just to make them a little happier… a good guy, mainly. Of course, his ability also makes him rich and popular. A fellow we all could be because we would do it for others as much as ourselves…

I loved that the main character sometimes stumbled, that he makes the right decisions when to lie and when not and that he learns when he errs. In the beginning, for example, he tries to lure a woman into bed by telling her the world was going to end if she didn’t have sex with him – and, of course, she believes him – but that was a mistake since she is so hysteric and focused on saving the world that he fakes a phone call with someone to tell him it isn’t necessary anymore – the world is once again save. I also loved that the woman was played by Stephanie March…

Speaking of the cast… we have Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, and Rob Lowe in the leads – and then some: Tina Fey (hilarious), Edward Norton, Jimmi Simpson (as representative of Coca Cola), Jason Bateman, and Philip Seymore Hoffman in small but wonderful roles.

It is interesting to note that before Mark (Gervais) starts lying there seems to be no religion whatsoever. Then he tells his mother about an afterworld while she is dying where everybody gets a mansion and meets all there friends and loved ones. As the nurses and doctor hear it, too, there is an uproar in the community and finally the whole world as Mark invents the “Man in the Sky” who talks to him only and told him about the afterlife. It is really wonderful to see how the people are willing to believe in a higher power that gives them mansions and want to condemn the same power for letting babies die of Aids. A woderfully thoughtful comment on religion.

The movie does not dwell too long on the newness of telling the truth in every situation – it is funny in the beginning but would have been tedious if it was the only thing the movie was about – but rather follows the plot early on. Of course, the plot is about boy meets girl (Jen Garner) and how he is supposed to get her when she wants the best compatible mate to have beautiful kids with, i.e. Rob Lowe. But it is charmingly done and of course, his love-interest comes around (though I think it a little insulting that women seem to only be able to make up their minds at the wedding, in front of all their loved ones… it’s been done often enough now, don’t u think?)

Okay, I liked this one. It’s a comedy that actually deserves to be called comedy.