|Index||3 reviews in total|
A kooky paranoid actress (Cheryl Pollack), feeling out of place in her
life and career, disappears in the midst of filming a $70 million
dollar movie, and begins a journey down the bricky road of self
rediscovery. On her trail is her therapist/manager (Holland Taylor),
who flies between being bubbles and glitter supportive and evil mean
wicked and nasty dictatorial. As she winds her way through the forest
of self re-evaluation, she teams up with three unusual individuals
(Stephen Gregory, Dan O"Donahue, Ron Perlman) who, in teaching her the
tricks of their trades, re-awaken her faith in her own brain, heart and
courage, and remind her that she knows where her home is...and there's
no place like it.
This is a quirky comedy with a unique style, some fantastic double meaning dialogue, and good performances. If you're looking for a different kind of laugh, with cereal filled swimming pools, topical muscle relaxants and bad golf, along with a touch of dreams, follow "Betty."
Favorite Line(s): "Evel Knievel, he was my hero. He helped me through my childhood. I saw him break his back four times!" "What's wrong with this thing (cigarette lighter)?" "It's childproof." "Childproof?! A g*dd*mn f*cking scientist couldn't make this thing work!"
Worth a rent/buy used.
"Betty" is a campy comedy about a lovably neurotic woman, a decade
before Liz Lemon swept us off our feet in "30 Rock". Much like 30 Rock,
this movie is peppered with goofy humor sometimes almost bordering on
"Airplane!"-esque absurdity or at least SNL ridiculousness. But at the
same time it's a quiet movie with plenty of room to breathe, and a lot
of it feels like watching a stage production of a woman delivering a
series of bizarre monologues.
For example, one of my favorite scenes is when Betty rants to her therapist about a chicken sandwich. It goes on for 5 minutes or so, almost a painfully long time, but call me crazy, I loved it. And I don't even like chicken.
Then we may cut to an inexplicably bizarre scene like Betty filling a swimming pool full of Fruit Loops just so she can clean it all out 30 seconds later. I got a kick out of that, too, and I can't even swim.
The whole movie is full of seemingly nonsensical moments like that which may or may not apply to your life (probably not, unless you're so rich and/or bored that you can afford to buy 100 lbs of Fruit Loops). But at the same time, through Betty's (Cheryl Pollack's) endearingly dorky performance, you feel like you could be watching your own life. There are lots of simple visual gags, like Betty passively-aggressively fighting with her pool chair, reminding us about the catastrophe of everyday annoyances.
Brief but fun performances by Udo Kier (who played numerous Draculas in the 70s) as the confused realtor, Holland Taylor (who played Ruth on the 80s sitcom "Bosom Buddies" or more recently Evelyn Harper on "Two and a Half Men") as the psychotic therapist, and my absolute favorite: Ron Perlman (Hellboy!) as a grandfatherly door-to-door salesman add spice to this satirical (but not sarcastic) comedy. I should also add that there are a lot of "old school cinema inside jokes" like, for example, the way Betty looks like Jackie O's twin in the opening scenes, her melodramatic way of talking to strangers, and a few choice lines like "They like me, they really like me!"
I purposely didn't talk about the plot until now because the plot isn't really central to the film. The movie is more about characterizations, particularly Betty's. Betty plays a famous movie star who has a nervous breakdown and decides to hide out in Palm Desert, trying to reconnect with the "real world" which she has been living so high above for so long. The funny thing is that the "real world" people she ends up meeting are as bizarre as anything out of a comic strip. And so this becomes almost like a weird contemporary "Alice in Wonderland" tale.
"Betty" has its moments of brilliance. It also has a few moments which didn't work so well for me, possibly because it may have pushed the absurdity a little too far towards the end. But overall I had a lot of fun watching this movie.
By the way, it's basically clean & family-friendly (aside from Holland Taylor's amusingly foul-mouthed performance as the psycho therapist), nothing violent or shocking, and although Cheryl Pollack plays a Hollywoodite walking around in a bikini top & high heels for a lot of the film, there's no nudity or gratuitous sex scenes. All of this points to the idea that this film is intended to pure fun, a sort of parody of life itself.
If you enjoy neurotic characters like Liz Lemon, Ally McBeal or most of the comedic roles Sandra Bullock plays, I think you'll get a kick out of "Betty".
Betty (Cheryl Pollack) is a well-known actress in need of a respite.
She leaves the set of her newest film and ends up hiding out in a
retirement community near Palm Springs. Protected from the outside
world, she declares she wants to leave her profession. When the pool
cleaner comes around, Betty joins him at his work on a trial basis. The
same thing happens when a professional golfer and a massage therapist
cross paths with the beautiful young star. But does Betty really want
to leave the dramatic world?
This independent film delivers charm and humor in abundance. Pollack is perfect as the actress who knows nothing about real life work but tries her best to fit in. The supporting players, including Ron Perlman, are just wonderful. For those who love to find offbeat films that are absolutely worthwhile, trek everywhere to track this one down.
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