6.8/10
116
5 user 2 critic

Chi Girl (1999)

Not Rated | | Comedy | 25 January 1999 (USA)
Van Lier plays Heather, a Chicago woman who thinks that she can sleep with any man simply because all men crave sex. A cameraman tapes her in her quest to get "laid". While she's trying (... See full synopsis »

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2 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Heather Green
... Randy (voice)
Scott Benjaminson ... Cliff
Phil Smith ... Jack
... Marie
Sarah Willis ... Kelly
Troy West ... Jeff
Bret Grafton ... Jacob
Jill Kraft ... Michellle
Paul Jeans ... George
... A Jennie
Stefanie Caterer ... A Jennie
... A Jennie
Jeris Donovan ... Gretchen
... Elena
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Storyline

Van Lier plays Heather, a Chicago woman who thinks that she can sleep with any man simply because all men crave sex. A cameraman tapes her in her quest to get "laid". While she's trying (unsuccessfully) to prove her theory about men, she's also stalking her ex-boyfriend. The man behind the camera becomes fascinated by her. Heather finally finds a new boyfriend, and starts to take better care of her appearance as a result. She tells the camera man that the filming is over, but in his fascination, he won't stop filming and begins stalking her. She frequently sees him with his camera and tells him to leave her alone. Her new boyfriend breaks up with her, and she falls back into her old ways, and once again allows the cameraman to film her, but this time with no sound. She then boards a train to an unknown destination. The camera man watches the train leave, and decides to wait for her until she returns.

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Comedy

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Not Rated
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25 January 1999 (USA)  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
a romantic tragedy/comedy with an almost 'Blair With' edge
9 October 2005 | by 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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