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Two bumbling store clerks inadvertently erase the footage from all of the tapes in their video rental store. In order to keep the business running, they re-shoot every film in the store with their own camera, with a budget of zero dollars.
Harvard-educated biotech executive John Henry Jack Armstrong gets fired when he informs on his bosses, launching an investigation into their business dealings by the Securities & Exchange Commission. Branded a whistle-blower and therefore unemployable, Jack desperately needs to make a living. When his former girlfriend Fatima, a high powered businesswoman--and now a lesbian--offers him cash to impregnate her and her new girlfriend Alex, Jack is persuaded by the chance to make easy money. Word spreads and soon Jack is in the baby-making business at $10,000 a try. Lesbians with a desire for motherhood and the cash to spare are lining up to seek his services. But, between the attempts by his former employers to frame him for security fraud and his dubious fathering activities, Jack finds his life, all at once, becoming very complicated. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
So the anti-Bush campaign that makes up the first 45 minutes or so of the movie are pretty clear. Even the attack on Bush's anti-gay tendencies are pretty clear. What's not clear is what the movie's trying to do. Jack is a corporate employee with serious potential who finds himself unemployed because of his refusal to ignore the massive corporate corruption with which he suddenly finds himself surrounded. So then he goes home to his fancy apartment, which he can no longer afford to maintain, and then has to deal with the torturous proposal of impregnating lesbians at $10,000 a piece.
The most difficult endeavor that the movie takes on is in trying to make us believe that Jack was actually conflicted about all of this, and it fails miserably. There a nonsensical subplot about him still being upset about his ex-girlfriend, the lesbian who is bringing all of her lesbian friends to be impregnated by Jack, but only after her.
Keep in mind that their breakup happened FOUR YEARS EARLIER, and not only was he belligerently furious to come home and find his sexy girlfriend having sex with another sexy woman, but he hasn't gotten over it four years later. They actually get into screaming arguments in the movie about this ancient history between themselves.
I'm reminded of one of Julia Roberts' many great lines from Closer "What are you, 12?"
So while he's not busy acting like a junior high school kid who's heartbroken about some girl who cheated on him, he's having sex with whole lines of lesbians and trying to act like it's just hell to him. Please. At the risk of sounding like some typical jerk, for such a thing to be torturous to a man we need to have a real, real good reason for him to hate doing it, and still being upset about a relationship that ended nearly half a decade earlier isn't even close to reason enough.
I can accept that the movie wants to suggest that this guy genuinely loved his girlfriend and truly feels like he has lost the love of his life, but let me tell you one thing. Showing a guy suffer through Every Man's Fantasy is not the way to do it. At all. Unless, of course, you have some ulterior political motive, but that's just not Spike Lee's style, right? Right?
I won't spend much time talking about the ludicrous premise about the lesbians. Whether you've seen the movie or not, you probably already know all about it. The problem is that you also come into the movie already knowing what a socially and politically conscious filmmaker Spike Lee is. We know that he is going to be making political statements in the film, and some of them are clear while others are not, unless Spike has completely lost all sense of balance. There are scenes where it is increasingly obvious what social ills are being dealt with, such as the terrible scene where Jack has some wooden and massively unrealistic conversation with his friend, who is trying to make money donating sperm. It's a god-awful scene, but it's relatively clear what is being said.
I could, of course, come up with some pretty solid theories about what is being said about the homosexual content of the film, how Jack the black man is forced to descend to that level, but it is such a gigantic portion of the film that it even overshadows that picture of Bush on the $3 bill at the end of the opening credits, and that's a difficult image to overshadow. Lee puts so much stock into the lesbians in this movie that it borders on low- grade soft porn.
At one point in the movie, while bike riding together, Jack's brother gives him a bright, sparkling gem of advice get a vasectomy and call it a day. Now, there are two things that could lead a man to give such advice to his brother. First, it could be because he's been having too much sex, or second, it could be because he's making ten thousand dollars at a time doing it. Either way, it's a good reason never to take advice from your brother again. Jack, of course, reacts by throwing a temper tantrum like an 8 year old kid, resulting in one of the great many scenes that made me want to put a pot over my head and start beating on it with a serving ladle.
One of the biggest problems with the movie is that not only does it bore and irritate but it deliberately insults the audience. Granted, I didn't know a lot of the details about some of the homages that are made in the film, such as the XFL player that inspired the title of the film and the security guard who exposed the Watergate break-in and ruined his own life in the process. I can understand if Lee wants us to be aware of what he's talking about, but he literally stops his movie to put these stories up on billboards and then hits us over the head with them.
By the end of the movie I was literally standing up, pacing back and forth I was so irritated and desperate for it to end. There are times when I wish I didn't have this determination to finish watching movies, even the abysmally terrible ones.
The really sad thing about She Hate Me is that it isn't even not very good for a Spike Lee film, this is just a bad movie overall. It's almost weird to think that it was directed by the same man that directed true classics like Do The Right Thing, one of my all time favorite films. She Hate Me is Spike Lee's version of Spielberg's 1941, but worse.
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