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Chi Girl (1999)

 -  Comedy  -  25 January 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 112 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

Van Lier plays Heather, a Chicago woman who thinks that she can sleep with any man simply because all men crave sex... See full synopsis »



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Title: Chi Girl (1999)

Chi Girl (1999) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Heidi Van Lier ...
Heather Green
Joe Kraemer ...
Randy (voice)
Scott Benjaminson ...
Phil Smith ...
Sarah Willis ...
Troy West ...
Bret Grafton ...
Jill Kraft ...
Paul Jeans ...
A Jennie
Stefanie Caterer ...
A Jennie
A Jennie
Jeris Donovan ...


Van Lier plays Heather, a Chicago woman who thinks that she can sleep with any man simply because all men crave sex... See full synopsis »

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Release Date:

25 January 1999 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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a romantic tragedy/comedy with an almost 'Blair With' edge
9 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Chi Girl reminded me of the Blair Witch Project for a couple of reasons, however in a slightly different ballpark. While Blair Witch is a more 'accessible' film to the audience (via young people terrified in the woods), the idea is similar: if you didn't think that someone had written and directed this film, and that most of the people in the film are actors or non-professionals, you might take it as being for real. On that level, Chi Girl gets it right. Even when the film has a little too much cynicism and, perhaps, nihilism, it's interesting, and doesn't lose interest despite (like Blair Witch) it's "no-budget" atmosphere and stylistics. I didn't know it until I looked up the credits after seeing the film (while not available on video or DVD, by the way, it is shown sometimes on IFC) that the film was written/co-directed by the "star" (Heidi Van Lier), which adds a little more fascination; in a way it seems about right. But on that level, it becomes a more psychologically complex film, as she not only delves into her character's psyche, but for the one holding the camera as well.

Heather is a basket case (even her good friends call her this), who writes a column for a Chicago paper, but has little to no luck on the social scene. Randy (the narrator, with a monotone voice reminiscent of the character Cornfed from the TV show Duckman) follows her with his seemingly objective camera, as she tries to show she can pick up any guy in the night-time bar scene. Eventually she does, with disastrous results, which then brings on the kind of downward spiral that is comparable to Travis Bickle (pre Mohawk of course). One of the great things about the style of the film (from DP Anders Uhl) is when she is in the bar trying to pick up guys, the camera is always in long-view, through the windows, peeking through. This could be tiresome, but somehow it's kept fresh in all these cringe-inducing scenes and dialogs. Does this objective, documentary style become subjective at some point? Hard to say.

But what does come through well, even during some of the shaky camera moves and dour moments, is this honest look at obsessive personality, and that this experimental style also calls into question the form of the observer. This is what reality TV doesn't understand, that real life is more like this, with people who are desperate, and disparate. It definitely thrives more on character than plot, so it may not be for you. For some, on the other hand, it could stike a spark.

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