She Hate Me (2004) Poster

(2004)

User Reviews

Review this title
67 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
3/10
What was Spike thinking?
anhedonia16 February 2005
I'm sure somewhere in "She Hate Me" lies a good story that would make for an entertaining movie. What we have, however, is a convoluted mess that tries too hard to be a social satire.

The premise: Jack Armstrong (Anthony Mackie), a hotshot VP at a pharmaceutical company, suddenly finds himself unemployed and in need of money. When his ex-fiancée-turned-lesbian Fatima Goodrich (Kerry Washington) offers him $10,000 to impregnate her and her lover Alex (the sexy Dania Ramirez), Jack realizes he could be a sexual cash cow. Next thing he knows, he's in high demand from wealthy lesbians who want children.

The problem is that Lee doesn't know what he wants his film to be. Or, what the story should be. He tackles way too many issues and never tackles any of them very well.

The film opens with a novel title sequence that ends with a broadside against President George W. Bush. Fair enough. Lee's bit actually works. The story then turns into some sort of diatribe against corporate greed, against the blatant excesses of the Enrons and WorldComs of corporate America. OK. Then there's also all this stuff about lesbians and impregnating them. And Jack's conscience about whether he's doing the right thing.

But the film then suddenly turns into a defense of Frank Wills, the black security guard who uncovered the Watergate burglary. Lee makes a valid point that while all the players involved in the burglary and subsequent cover-up went on to have lucrative careers as statesmen, authors, speakers and radio personalities, Wills died in obscurity. A tribute to Wills is long overdue. The man was a hero. But what the heck's his story doing in this film? And in a moment that seems completely arbitrary, Lee also throws in Oliver North into the mix of Watergate figures.

For a satire to work, it needs to satirize something. Frankly, I didn't know what exactly Lee was trying to send up. And, after a while, I didn't care. His movie's neither a sex comedy nor stinging social commentary. In fact, at times "She Hates Me" plays more like some sort of unbridled male fantasy. Not only are all the lesbians attractive, but also they want to get impregnated the old-fashioned way. The one lesbian who chooses artificial insemination fails and so has to plead with Jack to have sex with her.

Subtlety has never been Lee's forte. But in films such as "Do the Right Thing" (1989) and "Jungle Fever" (1991), he somehow found a good balance between satire and social comment. Here, he does no such thing. In "She Hate Me," Lee's about as subtle as a sledgehammer.

What's ultimately disappointing about "She Hate Me" is the often-inane writing. When Fatima tells Jack she always was a lesbian, even when she was dating him, and was merely in denial, she adds, "And I don't mean a river in Egypt." That's how lame the dialogue is. It gets even worse, when Lee and co-writer Michael Genet give Brian Dennehy positively laughable dialogue later.

The corrupt business practices of Enron and its ties to the Bush administration deserve to be told. As does a satire, if you must, of white collar crooks who get off relatively easy and wind up having hugely successful lives as a result of their crimes. But this isn't the film that does it.

Lee's clever, talented and certainly socially conscious, but just seems to be tossing in every idea he had into "She Hate Me." Instead of being bitingly satirical about society's lopsided values, this is a mishmash of a film that is never as funny as it wants to be or as provocative as it should be.
75 out of 95 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Premise
George_Jetson_8027018 September 2004
This movie made me think of how its premise was created. Suppose a man wanted to push the fantasy about being sexually desired by women to the extreme. How would he proceed? 1) Must be pursued sexually by many women. Certainly more than 2. Better make it 18. 2) If the women are not normally attracted to men, their attraction to him is theoretically more impressive (by some rationalizations). So make them lesbians. Better make them cute too, there is no prestige in ugly women. 3) To emphasize the premise, have the women actually pay him to have sex with him. Make it be it a lot of money. $10,000. The problem is that this premise seems obvious and silly by itself. To make it less obvious, state that the women are motivated by the desire to get pregnant. You can still slip in the implication that they want sex with him because they didn't choose artificial insemination. I got the impression that this is how the premise for "She Hate Me" was developed. It has many other subplots of interest, but I think it is based on a somewhat obvious and adolescent fantasy.
67 out of 87 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
A messy collection of ideas that doesn't work as a story but works as food for thought – and that is enough to make it worth trying
bob the moo22 April 2005
Fired from his executive position within a medical research company for reporting unethical behaviour, John Henry Armstrong finds himself hung out to dry, blaming by the CEO for the drop in share value and with his assets frozen. When his ex-girlfriend and her lesbian lover come to him asking for his sperm to get them pregnant in return for $5,000 a time – an offer he eventually accepts. Once the deed is done, Fatima starts bringing him other professional lesbian couples who have failed to have children by any of the more conventional routes. As this becomes his new profession, the corporate witch-hunt for a fall guy continues with him in the spotlight.

I will always try and see a Spike Lee film. Not because he is the world's best director (he is not) nor because his films are always fantastic (they most definitely are not) but because even his poor films provide interest and brain food in a way that so many Hollywood films do not. It is easy to just dismiss him but to do so misses so much of what he does that is good and worth seeing. I certainly cannot defend this film on the grounds of narrative because it is all over the place – Enron, sexual ethics, the failures of the corporate world and political system to "ordinary" people, all this while still having sex scenes and animated sperm and eggs. If you let it, the fragmentation of the narrative will annoy you – it bothered me a little bit and I wished that the film had been shorter with a tighter focus. However, it is still interesting and it engaged my brain; you can imagine the "man gets lesbians pregnant" concept being the next cheap and nasty "comedy" at number one in the box office charts and, although he seems to enjoy the sexual humour of the material, Lee deserves credit for not forgetting that I (and many audiences) like to have my brain stimulated before anything else.

If the opening credits ($3 bill) doesn't give you a clue what it is about, then the film helps with the corporate world setting. The themes are business, money and ethics and the film preaches a lot at points but generally is interesting. There is a lot of slack in the film that should have been removed and for some of it the point was totally lost on me but I was thinking all the time and that is a good thing. Lee's direction is as good as ever and the cinematography is slick. With so much focus on theme instead of story, it is no surprise that the actors aren't that great, but they do all do enough to keep the film working. Mackie is not a great actor but he is effective enough here and it isn't his fault if his character isn't developed that well. Likewise Washington, Barkin, Bellucci, Harrelson etc are all OK but they are more parts within a point rather than characters. Q-Tip is a non-character but is a nice presence in the sort of role that Lee would often play. Although it didn't bother me too much, I did wonder how much damage the portrayal of lesbians did the film – or how fair it was? To my eye they seemed to be either lipstick lesbians that were very sexy, or larger women played for comic effect – only one or two seemed like "normal" people; but with so many other things to niggle me, this was right at the bottom of my list.

Overall, the negative reviews are partly correct because this is a messy film with a narrative that is all over the place. Happily, Spike Lee is always worth watching because the film has interesting themes through it and Lee's anger may be overdone at times but mainly it has the desired effect of being very watchable. Worth seeing for what it does well even if it does a lot wrong.
20 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
Will the real Spike Lee please stand up...
Michael DeZubiria23 April 2005
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.

Much worse.
44 out of 66 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
Bigoted, preposterous, homophobic
Michael Bo30 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of the most infuriating films I have watched in a long, long while. It looks like some first-time scriptwriter couldn't get sufficient backing and then directed his script himself. No two scenes make sense when put together, the premise about the businessman getting paid $10,000 dollars each time he impregnates a lesbian is preposterous and embarrassingly realized here. It turns out that, committed lesbians or not, these gals just luuuuuuuuve our main man's sexual prowess and equipment, which is just about the most homophobic notion of any American film this whole decade.

On top of Spike Lee's blatant homophobia and the not too bright racial stereotyping, on top of all that put the hypocrisy of two lesbians talking the ex-fiancée of one of them into making an easy buck with his sperm, and afterwards, having impregnated 19 women, he feels he must pay in hell and now HE'S sorry he got THEM into it.

The whole thing is a mess and devoid of charm or intelligence. Anthony Mackie in the lead is a personable actor, not mention incredibly easy on the eyes, and I would love to see him in something worthwhile.

But it is going to take some time, before this monstrosity of a film is forgotten.
10 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
is there an audience for this film?
garth876913 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
as i viewed spike lee's "she hate me" upon its video release i kept wondering what audience lee was targeting for the film. the answer i kept coming up with was that he himself didn't know.there are four or five plots going on , most of which are clumsily tied together and none of which make much sense.I'll start with the opening credits, which show various denominations of u.s. currency and the presidents whose images adorn those bills.the credits end with the image of a $3 dollar bill, with a picture of a dopey looking george w. bush. OK, so spike doesn't like the prez.what does this have to do with the movie? as if the whole plot of wealthy lesbians paying $10,000 each to get impregnated - the old-fashioned way(!)-wasn't absurd enough, we then get a subplot about a mafia chieftain whose daughter is one of the clients.He must be the new kinder, gentler form of godfather as he seems to have no problem with his daughter being involved in this.oh yeah, the ladies are worried about disease so they make the main character get tested for everything before the big night, when he has sex with at least 6 women in a row.how do they know the woman went before them was clean? i guess we are supposed to assume that since they are lesbians they can't have STD's. it's all topped by possibly the most preposterous ending in the history of cinema.(if you don't want to know the ending stop here).the main character,his ex fiancée and her lesbian girlfriend agree to stay together to raise their kids, and evidently while maintaining a 3 way sexual relationship! earth to spike :these things don't happen. anyway whoever the intended audience is they didn't find it.here in nyc, the movie played in 1 Manhattan theater for 2 weeks then vanished.
10 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
Clever and striking...Spike Lee delivers with She Hate Me
JonTMarin20 August 2004
Spike Lee's latest effort "She Hate Me" has been a debate for moviegoers. Some like it, some don't. I love Spike's work but that doesn't mean I am biased. I went into "She Hate Me" expecting the worst. But like most of Spike's films, I liked it. Some parts did make me cringe a bit but overall it is a clever film. You all know who the story goes, Jack Armstrong (Anthony Mackie) witnesses the suicide of his co-worker and finds a CD with his co-worker confessing of the company's (Progeia) wrong doings. Jack gets fired from his VP position and his bank accounts are frozen. His ex-fiancée Fatima (Kerry Washington) and her lesbian lover Alex (the stunningly beautiful Dania Ramirez) gives Jack an offer he can't refuse. He gets to impregnate ("the old fashion way") 18 lesbians for the price of 10 grand each. He does what he has to do until his ex-boss Leland Powell (Woody Harrelson) finds out about it and get him on charges. Also in the storyline is Monica Bellucci's character get impregnated with her mob family knowing about it. I heard that this film is confusing and a big mess but if you follow Spike's films you know that he has done this his whole career. All of his film's go off the storyline and gives the audience a chance to know the character. By the end of the film, you feel connected with Jack, Fatima, Alex and all the other characters surrounding them. Another thing that Spike did a good job on was the portrayal of lesbians. Unlike other films, "She Hate Me" doesn't portray them as sex vixens who have nothing on their mind but sex. But as smart, intelligent and funny women that are concerned about family values and the society surrounding them, and maybe a little bit of sex. I really think that Spike redeemed himself with "She Hate Me". Nothing was wrong with "25th Hour",it's a great film, but it just didn't feel too much like a Spike Lee joint. "She Hate Me" is a sassy comedy and very entertaining. Watch out for the Bush bashing scenes.

She Hate Me- rated R *** out of ****
19 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
This was an Excercise of Stupidity
anapier025 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
First, Let me just say I love spike lee. The 25th hour is a classic. Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X, Crooklyn, Mo Betta...,4 little Girls (Doc)...brilliant. But she hate me? If this was a paper, I would give it an "F" for no thesis or organization. I mean what happen spike? You Hurt my heart. I defended you. I was with you for Girl 6, I hung in there waiting for a redeeming factor in Jungle Fever. I thought you were gaining back your ground when i saw the Summer of Sam. Watched Bamboozled and said, "Okay, I see the point." But she hate me? She hate me? Are you Serious?? I mean what the %#$@! Lesbians and white collar crime? Where is the logic? When I think of Enron, I don't think Ellen. So why spike? Why? And I watched this movie hoping that something will make me feel better about it but nope...never happened. Spoiler Alert: And the lessons or climax of the whole movie:White Collar crime is bad and all lesbians need is a good stiff...you get the point. And then Ken Lay and Ellen and Portia De Rossi all live happy every after on Coney Island. It was like is some crazy nightmare sequence. Spike, Do you even know any lesbians? How about women? Do you know any women? Because the female behavior in the film wasn't even close to any real female character of any sort as a matter of fact...No characters in the whole spectacle had any ounce of realism. This movie was one huge caricature of stereotypical, quasi-political,overstated visual rhetoric. Spike, She don't hate you. But I'm hating. Spike, come on...we got to do better than this.
14 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Movie Review - 'You're Reaching Spike'
gtown91-writing29 July 2004
There's an old premise that the best storytelling is shown, not told. In terms of the latest Spike Lee Joint, 'She Hate Me,' no truer words have ever been uttered.

Jack Armstrong (Anthony Mackie) is a young vice-president of a pharmaceutical company on the verge of unveiling a vaccine for HIV, pending FDA approval. Through the nefarious actions of greedy senior executives, Jack finds himself pegged as the scapegoat for this drug that ultimately will not be approved and the subsequent tumble in company stock. Think Enron, Worldcom, et al. but Spike won't let you think for yourself, as he keeps their specific names prominently displayed throughout the movie with overt and pointed references. Margo (Ellen Barkin) who looked eerily like Martha Stewart only further illustrates this point.

In a scenario reminiscent of 'Enemy of the State,' Jack loses access to all of his finances and is 'forced' to consider alternative means of generating income. After an unexpected visit by his former fiancée he accepts her offer to become father of her child…her child and her lesbian lover's child.

$10,000 for 2 successful impregnations is the deal and Jack 'reluctantly' accepts. The next thing you know, he has lesbian women knocking at his door daily, five at a time, offering $10,000 each per impregnation.

If you've ever seen a 'Spike Lee Joint,' you're aware of the common threads woven into all of his movies. You come to expect certain elements and even certain actors. The fact that the supporting cast included such venerable thespians as Ossie Davis (Judge Buchanon), John Turturro (Don Angelo), Lonette McKee (Lottie) and Joie Lee (Gloria), while featuring a fabulous soundtrack by Terence Blanchard should be a surprise to no one. The fact that those actors, combined with Monica Belucci (Simona), Brian Dennehy (Chairman Church) and Woody Harrelson (Powell) didn't amount to a great movie should be tremendously surprising…and disappointing.

From the opening credits, Spike Lee's signature is everywhere. From the rich combination of jazz and orchestral sensibilities in the underlying music bed that set the tone and timbre of the movie, you know Spike Lee is here. From the blatant opening reference and disdain of President George Bush; you knew the direction this vehicle headed and who was at the wheel.

According to Lee, 'The story of 'She Hate Me' is very simple. It's about sex, greed, money and politics.'

Yes and no. It's about all of those things, but it's far from being simple.

The message to be delivered was loud and clear. Unfortunately, this message was one of at least 75 different and varied lessons 'She Hate Me' would offer to its viewers. Even more unfortunately, Spike chose oration for each and every 'message' in sermonizing character dialogue. Either Spike no longer respects his viewers enough to allow them to 'figure it out on their own' or that verbally bludgeoning them with his viewpoints (all 75 of them) is now considered a more viable storytelling alternative.

The story of 'She Hate Me' is ostensibly about Jack Armstrong and his attempt at getting out of one sticky situation by entering another. In fact, it's not. This movie is more about the relationships and realities of women in love with one-another. This movie is at its best when Spike demonstrates that regardless of gender or orientation; insecurity and jealousy are universal. The desires of family and fidelity are also universal, irrespective of familial unit structure. Most importantly, the need to be accepted unconditionally is a definitive trait in all of us. Those arguably were the most important messages in this movie and Lee is right on the mark.

Where 'She Hate Me' specifically missteps is that the story is from the point of view of an unsympathetic character. When Jack first started his new 'business' he supposedly needed money for the moment to counterbalance his frozen assets and continuing financial responsibilities. Yet 18 women, 19 children and some $180,000 later, neither Spike Lee, co-writer Michael Genet nor character Jack himself offers a reason as to why he continued such dangerous and fruitless indiscretions, for so long.

The characters and relationships most enjoyable in this movie were fleeting in nature; components remarkably and conspicuously absent after introduction for most of the film. Jack's relationship with his father Geronimo (played by Jim Brown) was engaging. The sight of football Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown playing a character fighting diabetes and to save his marriage simultaneously was moving. The newly evolving relationship of Geronimo with his son in the midst of the chaos around him was another meaningful subplot; one of many that Lee didn't revisit until nearly the end of the movie.

A monologue by Don Angelo (John Turturro) gave us another glimpse of Turturro's acting brilliance. John Turturro is a future Academy Award winner; it's just a shame this won't be the role that does it for him.

If there is an explanation as to why some sub-stories and sub-plots were not covered as deeply as others it would be the fact that there are so many characters, all of which feel compelled to tell their life story. In fact, there are just too many people to keep up with, too many to care about in the end. It's like juggling fiery bowling pins, where too much concentration on one leads to really bad consequences.

Visually, 'She Hate Me' pays homage to films of the 1970's, with its simplistic camera angles devoid of lighting tricks or steady-cams. The knowing use of varying hues and blurred frames was quite appealing stylistically, even cool. This, combined with great musical cues featuring tenor saxophone melodies was a nice tip of the fedora to the Film Noir genre.

'She Hate Me' is raw and gritty in its imagery, remarkable in its musicality and at times sensual in its delivery…but ultimately not a good movie.
33 out of 58 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
She Hate Me: 7/10
movieguy10215 September 2004
It's safe to say that most people don't like Spike Lee. He's a radical, he's racist, and a lot of people don't like his movies. That would explain the 3.3/10 rating for She Hate Me on IMDb, considering most of them haven't seen the film. Either that, or they couldn't handle everything that Lee (and co-screenwriter Michael Genet) put onto the plate. However, Lee could barely handle all of it, and it shows. There's so much for Lee to rant on and make fun of that the movie occasionally lags and feels too heavy for having way too much to talk about. At 138 minutes, it does go on for a little too long, but that's the only way Lee can fit everything he wants to talk about into his movie. Surprisingly, it all has a place, and for the most part works pretty well.

John Henry Armstrong (Anthony Mackie), aka Jack, works for a prestigious drug company whose drug for curing AIDS has just been rejected by the FDA. However, CEO Leland Powell (Woody Harrelson) performs some illegal transactions, causing Jack to blow the whistle and subsequently get fired. Not being able to get a job anywhere else, Jack's broke until his ex-fiancée Fatima (Kerry Washington) comes to him with a plan. For $10,000, he will impregnate her and her partner Alex (Dania Ramirez). He's initially reluctant, but he decides to go ahead. Soon, Fatima brings a bunch of lesbians to his place, all for $10,000 each. Jack has morality issues to deal with, but also, his former company frame him for the corrupt business practices.

From the opening credits, where dollar bills float, ending with a $3 with George W. Bush on it, you know that this movie isn't going to be easy. Lee throws in another attack on Bush later, and he tackles the subjects of corporate corruption, homosexuality, the stereotypes of black men (and women), and the importance of whistleblowing. That definitely is too much material to work with, and it shows. In the film, there's about 45 minutes with no talk of the framing of Jack that's being planned. And there's some funny comedy thrown in, that is quite funny, but makes the film disjointed. One serious scene connects directly to a funny one. It wasn't very balanced. And I could have done without the subplot of Jack's parents. It didn't really lead anywhere. And then everything boils down to a courtroom climax.

However, the film is always fascinating when Lee exposes these things. It's too much for him to handle, as I've said, but what he can throw in coherently is interesting and entertaining. The movie is one of the most entertaining of the year, and during the aforementioned courtroom climax, you're rooting for Jack, because you've been through what he's been through. You recognized the cruelty of the company, so you feel with Jack, and because he's such a normal character, you can go along with what he's feeling and everything unfair that happens to him (which is a lot). Although it's comedic, you understand what he's going through when you see animated sperm with Jack's face on it, when he's too tired to continue with the impregnation.

Mackie does a great job. He does some emotional work, and although in one place or two, it seemed like he was going by the book, he puts in a sympathetic acting job. Washington does a more realistic acting performance, but both are great. They both add to She Hate Me, a somewhat muddled but entertaining, funny (if in the wrong places), and criticizing drama. You'll either love it or be offended by it. I think the chance is worth taking. By the way, that flashback with Nixon, et al., might be the funniest moment of the year.

My rating: 7/10

Rated R for strong graphic sexuality/nudity, language and a scene of violence.
32 out of 61 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Why Spike....Why?
ugottahvfaith20 February 2005
I really have never commented on a forum pertaining to a movie in my entire life, but after watching this film, I was compelled to write something about what I watched. spike has done the worst film I have ever seen in my life. Coming from someone that I thought was a good writer, he just lost all direction,what a waste of time and art. I think that it needed so much work, and the premise is horrible, and unrealistic. Spike please try again, and don't assume or think for us the next time. Its just something that I would never see again! Also bad acting, and a waste of a handsome guy on film. I found the main character intriguing, smart,even comical, but he had nothing to work with. I left my television and VCR with sadness on the state of the world, and the mindset of Spike Lee.
17 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
4/10
I hate him ()
leplatypus25 March 2009
This movie is about a man who takes a moral choice for his work but forgets values in his private life. I can't relate to such upside down philosophy. So, "hate" is surely a word too harsh but I don't care about his life.

Nevertheless, the story raises good questions:

For one time, you see a man becoming a "sex-object" and it's great to achieve this sort of equality with women in charge. From my point of view, it's not a revolution: I always thought, that in relationships, men court but women decide! But I am not the Di Caprio / Pitt / Clooney mold, too! Thus, the truth would be that it's the sexiest who runs the relation whatever the gender! It's a tyranny of beauty then!

And as depicted in the movie, nowadays, when beauty is there, money is not far away. What can we do for money? Is everything for sell? Money leads to freedom or alienation? When you see the beautiful opening credits, you wonder..

For sure, Lee is a talented director and knows how to tell a story, even disturbing for your beliefs.

PS: and don't forget FRANK WILLS, a man who stayed true to his principles instead of money!
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
A brilliant and searing examination of morality and corruption.
ecto-318 August 2004
It has been said that dying is easy, but comedy is difficult. This latest, masterful release by Director Spike Lee should not merely be viewed as a comedy, although it does has some outrageous laughs based upon a social commentary about morality, corruption, and ultimately personal salvation. What makes this film challenging, and perhaps disappointing to some, is that it is so original that it does not easily fit into categories or expectations. However, Mr. Lee has indeed succeeded on many levels. In the finest traditions of breaking new ground in art, social commentary, satire, and caricature, with the likes of James Joyce, Marxist philosophers, Marshall McLuhan, Herbert Marcuse and others from the Frankfurt school, and pop culture icons, from Tom Lehrer, Bob Dylan, and Madonna, this film is right (or left) on target. It is not about donating sperm to lesbians, as some might think, or corruption in business and government. It uses lesbians and blacks as representations of anyone who is subject to being marginalized. The real message of this movie, in my view, is that our salvation and rescue lies within, and that personal morality, i.e., truth, is the tool we can use to uncover and destroy government and business deceits, from Watergate to Enron, and beyond. If you are looking just for laughs, and not to be challenged to think beyond the superficial, then this movie isn't for you. But for anyone who isn't brain dead, brain washed, or brainless, this just might be the best movie you've ever seen.
20 out of 39 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
2/10
Could Spike have multiple personality disorder?
Stephen McMenamin29 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
That's what I found myself wondering as I watched She Hate Me. What else could account for the improbability that the same filmmaker gave us both the magnificent 25th Hour and this dreadful film?

I won't dwell on the details, but to summarize: The film has two main plot lines. One paints a cartoonish picture of corporate corruption at a pharmaceutical company, complete with "business talk" as mis-imagined by a writer who clearly has never worked in such environments. Ellen Barkin and Woody Harrelson waste themselves in these scenes.

The second plot line is where this train wreck gets truly sad. Jack Armstrong, our protagonist, agrees to impregnate his ex-fiancée (Fatima, who has since come out as a lesbian) and her lover for money. Fatima decides to refer other lesbians to Jack for the a cut of the fee. We are expected to believe that nearly every one of these gay women elects to be impregnated via intercourse with Jack, rather than by artificial insemination.

Along the way we are subjected to a truly embarrassing fantasy confrontation between Watergate security guard Frank Wills and most the the upper echelon of the Nixon White House.

The saddest aspect of She Hate Me is that so many talents (John Turturro, Ossie Davis, Isiah Whitlock), none greater than the wonderful composer Terence Blanchard, were wasted on a script that is at once ridiculous and insulting to the viewer.

Spike, get some therapy.
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
consider it the transitional film between 25th Hour and Inside Man- the very, very (not in a good way) bizarre and misguided "satire" of the present
MisterWhiplash23 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
She Hate Me almost makes me think of a very talented student rushing through in one night to write and present a sloppy thesis on the state of corporate America and male/female relations, and you do feel the spirit and ferocity at times of the same man who made Do the Right Thing. BUT the fact that the man DID make Do the Right Thing makes this all the more of a quagmire of a shmorgesbord. I wanted to give it a chance, despite all of the lambasting from critics, but they are not really that unwarranted. There are a few small things involving the sex scenes (no pun intended, I think) that are noteworthy, but for the most part this is a fiasco that only someone with the temerity, skill, and daring to go as far as this can pull off. There's a flip-side to the coin of ultra talent with auteurs Lee and De Palma and Herzog and Coppola and others, which is that the same life that goes all through an original work can sometimes be crippling if wielded the wrong way. This film just simply tackles way too many ideas into one way too long package, and it's all the more frustrating for the bits that could, in a whole other context, maybe be pulled off with a little more insight and skewering.

The two major sides, aside from the side-bars involving familial ties with John Armstrong (Anthony Mackie) and his friend (who has one of the worst plot-strands involving a bad sperm test), are the corporate drudgery and the lesbian impregnations. Guess which one is less credible? Not that Lee and his collaborator really tackle the former side with a lot of gusto or much of anything; Armstrong, the vice president at a pharmaceutical company who doesn't seem to know that there is corruption involving stocks and prices involving a vaccine for AIDS (that, by the way, has a 75% success rate, as if that's a bad thing!), sees a former scientist friend jump to his suicide, and has on a disc all of the juicy details, thus leading to whistle blowing, and being fired from his job. This is when Lee and his collaborator get into the biggest pickle that they can never squirm out of, as up to now they have material that isn't terrific, but has some promise to be developed. But then comes the latter plot-line, involving Armstrong's ex girlfriend (Kerri Washington, who between her character and Dania Ramirez's character are the most infuriatingly simplistic lesbians I've seen depicted recently on film), who will pay to get impregnated by John.

This is where the "fun" begins. By fun I mean just pure illogical hijinks meant to be exaggerations, but Lee never makes it really believable about what kind of exaggeration, not once. It might be one thing if only a few of the nearly twenty lesbians Mackie knocks up enjoyed the sex, but ALL of them do. Furthermore, the character is having sex over and over and over again, time and time again on each night. The biggest problem of all, encompassing this big chunk of the picture, aside from it being there to give Armstrong more 'dimension' and to add the whole aspect of the title to it all, is that Lee doesn't know how to balance the satire with the more dramatic points, and worst of all for a satirist the material falls flat and isn't funny. They do try, the women do, to rake up the laughs with their cheesy bed exploits, but it's meshed together into a premise that is so ridiculous to accept that it loses its energy very, very quick. If not for the awesomely bad cartoon sequences involving Armstrong sperm and lesbian eggs, it would be even more excruciating. At the least, for a few moments, there is pure absurdity in the midst of chaos.

Throwing into the pot are the usual bits of black/white commentary (the mother of Armstrong being mixed, which wouldn't be an issue except that it is Spike Lee making it one), the Turturro scenes (was this just a favor to put him in another movie?), and a comparison of Armstrong to the man who blew the whistle on the Watergate break-in, not to mention montages involving births and more undercooked slices of Enron-style semantics. And alongside the thematic sloppiness Lee falters stylistically as well, if not as frequently and befuddling as with the substance; some of this looks like it was shot for CBS prime-time mixed with a few touches of the usual color schemes that are Lee trademarks, as well as the oddly up-beat and muzak-like musical score. By the time She Hate Me finishes up, one is privy to so many questions about what just happened that it could fill a small notepad.

Maybe it's best to think of it as something the director had to get out of his system, like a mis-begotten Viagra fueled ejaculation ala Armstrong, and could move on to greener creative pastures. All I can say is that if you do proceed, do so with caution, as it's the biggest blunder I've come across so far from his career.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
How "she hate me" surprised me
Nicoletn1110 February 2006
This movie really surprised me. I mean, I was raised watching Spike Lee movies simply because he was doing things other young directors weren't doing. He was the voice for voiceless masses of us blacks folks. He gave a platform to situations in the hood that most other people could case less about. However, as I aged and developed an eye for critiquing Spike's movies, I realized that he has this same formula for his movies which he rarely veered from and he always had to beat you over the head with the message. She Hate Me breaks that mold, just a pinch because he still follows his model, but this movie was surprisingly good. While I do feel he did bit off way more than he could have possibly chewed in 2 hours, he did address most of the issues he brought up quite well in the time alloted. Okay, from the previews, you know there's his guy whose lesbian "friend" approaches him to impregnate him, which in and of itself is a bit weird, but the movie is so much more deeper than that simply plot. Spike tackled tons of issues, mostly current issues that we all deal with now, but ultimately, the movie tackles, what would you do and how far would you go for money? This is a good movie worth spending 2 hours of time dissecting. I'm always recommending buying it so you can watch time and time again and discuss.
11 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
8/10
His sperm counts!
jotix1002 August 2004
There is no doubt that Spike Lee is one of the best movie directors working these days. He is an original. Mr. Lee ought to be seen more often. His films are always well crafted; he evidently enjoys working with the same team and it's obvious the actors love Mr. Lee. In his hands they all turn great appearances.

This film is a curious thing. As written for the screen by Michael Genet, the film tries to touch too many themes. It's a political look at something that went wrong in our past history, as well as an expose of corruption in high levels and a funny comedy about a man that is in the center of helping women get fulfillment.

Mr. Lee is perhaps telling us in a subtle way that we cannot ignore deceit and corruption in higher places. Corruption comes Jack Armstrong's way without he asking for it. He happens to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time. Jack was the epitome of a Buppie and his fall is caused by the system where he was a successful executive.

The performances are fabulous. Anthony Mackie, as Jack, is one of the best male roles in any Spike Lee's films. It helps that Mr. Mackie is an incredible actor who will go to bigger and better things and it's sad at the same time because Mr. Lee will probably will not be able to afford his salary in future films, the same way he can't afford Denzel Washington, or Samuel L. Jackson.

John Turturro keeps coming back to work with Mr. Lee and they both have a certain bond and they work well together. The mafioso played by Mr. Turturro is something not to be believed, as is his dialog. Ellen Barkin makes a rare appearance. She is an actress that projects sex appeal and mystery at the same time. Monica Belluci has a small role. Woody Harrelson also appears briefly. Lonnette McKey and Jim Brown are Jack's parents and they are good in their roles.

Kerry Washington as Fatima, the entrepreneurial young woman who comes to the rescue is a fresh face that is a welcome addition to the film. She is a talented actress who can hold her own against Mr. Mackie all the time.

As usual, music plays a great deal in the film. Terence Blanchard's score is never intrusive, but it balances the action well. The great cinematographer Matthew Libatique has given the film a patina that is rich and sensuous, at the same time.

Spike Lee is an acquired taste. Yes, we like him more every time we see one of his films!
11 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
7/10
I loved it
bigbrutha2da5th4 May 2006
I loved the movie. It reminded me of days gone by when I actually stood for something. In my opinion it follows typical Spike Lee style of story telling and cinematography. Spike is still a great story teller--even if you don't like the stories he chooses to tell. The story starts out with a young African American executive faced with a moral decision of whistle-blowing on his company. He apparently makes a decent salary and it will cost him loose this job. He makes his decision and has to live with the consequences. We follow the path of his decision which goes in a whole new direction--which could be its own movie, "She's Gotta Have It Part 2." As with many Spike Lee films, it is designed to make you think. There are several key issues: Lesbians' rights to have children, corporate corruption, health-care, and parental responsibility. I did not find it as preachy as some of Spike's other works but I haven't been to church in some time so I just may not remember what "preachy" is.
7 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Let's be serious
majoostay28 February 2005
Ladies and gentlemen, let's be serious. I know it is important to discuss views and all that but HONESTLY SPEAKING, this movie is total crap!!! Be honest with yourselves people. For those who enjoyed it: you are entitled to your opinion and choice, but it still is a lousy movie anyway. It is shallow, the plot makes no sense, the acting is B-class, the explicit "giving birth" scene is unnecessary......I could go on. Spike Lee was a man with a future (or so it seemed) but he just couldn't cut it. Then he makes a comeback with what I would rate one of the worst films ever made.....It's all over for him. As per Spike Lee's MO, he was most likely trying to make a movie that will spark debate about one issue or another but this time it just didn't work.
10 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
The movie SUCKED
free_2live4me15 February 2005
I absolutely did NOT like this movie! What kinds of nasty couples do you know who would get down like that!!! I think Spike Lee should stick to political education and not delve into subjects that he clearly knows nothing about. Parts of this movie were so inaccurate, that I fell asleep out of sheer disgust and disbelief at the obvious pornographic insinuations that he was trying to depict of certain lifestyles. Just because he doesn't understand different peoples preferences does not give him the right to come to his own conclusions. He, of course, is only partially to blame, I also blame myself for being silly enough to trust a friends' rave reviews of that nonsense. So now I'm out $4.10!
12 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
Total crap straight up and down!!!
ShuhDiamond2 January 2006
I have never really been a fan of Spike Lee and his techniques as a director (especially the way his scenes appear as though a human being is holding the camera in a not-so-still fashion- ugh!!!). But I am absolutely disappointed with this movie ('saw it for the first time last night), and Spike Lee totally lost any vote I had for him all together. What the hell was he thinking? 'Just a flick containing scattered thoughts of a man confused about life all together, it seems. I am especially disappointed in Kerry Washington. She does "Ray", and then she does this crap? I would think that film would've opened up doors for her. What had me the most upset was the fact that you had these "Lesbians" who want to have sex with this man because they want to get pregnant, but then you also see these "Lesbians" lusting after his body, and enjoying sex with him, being affectionate, orgasms- ??? The last time I checked, Lesbians were women who were into women, and did not lust after men. There are Lesbian women in my family- I know the drill. It is every pig's fantasy to "break" a Lesbian, and be the one to "turn her back" to men, and this film depicts that. And then at the end, Kerry Washington decided that she is Bisexual and not Lesbian after all, and then she and her girlfriend decide to have a three-way relationship with this guy, who has a child with each of them, along with having children with umpteen other women that they set him up to have sex with? And the worst thing of all, is the fact that after all the corporate scandal that this guy is wrapped up in, the only thing that gets him off is the fact that the judge feels a father of 17 children should be out working, and not in prison. What's the message here? The solution for a Black man to beat a Surpreme Court case in which he is being racially targeted is for him to have babies everywhere? I find this film sickening. I can only wonder how Lesbians feel, how Black men feel, how heterosexual Black women like me feel, how anybody feels after watching this crap. Spike Lee has run out of bright ideas, and needs to retire...
9 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
IT WAS GREAT, GO SEE IT
Howardchic0327 August 2004
I thought this one one of Spike Lee's better movies. It had a message, it had humor, it related to the topics of today's society...acceptance, forgiveness, love, unconditional love, hypocrisy, shame... all that under one movie. And then it gave a little history lesson about the forgotten hero's (whistleblowers) man I can't rave about this movie enough. Forget what critics say ....Passions of Christ... anyway I would suggest everyone see this movie. The ending is a little weird but it's forgivable. I can't wait til it comes out on DVD this is one of those watch over and over again movies. * Side note, the acting is not the greatest but the whole movie somehow supports it. Plus come on it's all done in Spike Lee (camera angles fashion.
7 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
How to read this movie...
nom512 August 2004
The reviews of the new Spike Lee joint went from bad to worse (Entertainment Weekly gave it an F, for whatever that's worth), so I purchased my ticket to "She Hate Me" with more than a little bit of trepidation. Admittedly, what allowed my curiosity to get the better of me and coerce me in to shelling out the AMC 25 Times Square's ridiculous $10.50 ticket price was an inner desire to witness the gruesome end to the train wreck that has ravaged Spike Lee for the past five year or so (before you stop me, I didn't see 25th Hour, which I heard from credible sources was pretty decent; leave me alone).

And for the first half hour of "She Hate Me," that's exactly what I got. The overwhelming hubris; the transparent messaging; the muddled, almost blunted inside joke that leaves you on the outside. The underdeveloped crack baby conceived in a one night stand between (1) half-baked racial politics and (2) a convoluted cultural agenda that manages to reinforce the same norms that it calls into question.

But somehow, Lee saves this one, making it provocative rather than tired. In this mess of a film, campy vignettes sprout up as tangential arguments surrounding a main thesis. Structuring the movie as such derails the thesis, transforming it from a coordinate plane to a topographic map with very queer landmarks. And while at first glance it might seem that Lee is playing the same role he does courtside at a Knicks game -- shouting his arse off at action of which he has marginal influence at best -- Lee's multiple divergent jeremiads are far less prescriptive than they are descriptive. The description, furthermore, is characterized by omission. We learn a lot more by what Lee chooses not to include than from what he includes.

Case in point: In a film that is so mired in present-day political discourse and broaches the subject homosexuality for a great deal of its duration, not once is the issues of gay marriage touched upon. The choice not to mention this subject, which has (unnecessarily?) asserted hegemony over a queer rights agenda, leaves way for Lee to touch on topics that receive far less mainstream attention, such as alternative understandings of the family, or how the (literal) commodification of the black male body resonates across a number of frameworks. Anthony Mackie is somewhat of an acquired taste in the lead role. His acting is tight enough to be convincing, but imperfect enough to purvey the affected sense that runs rampant throughout the film. His character, Jack Armstrong, works at a pharmaceutical development company whose aim is to develop an AIDS vaccine. Once this is established, a sequence of scenes reveal to us that the vaccine has been rejected by the FDA, that one of the main scientists has committed suicide, and that higher-ups in his company are guilty of blatant insider trading.

When Jack blows the whistle to the SEC, the shit deflects off of the fan and hits him in the face. He is fired and his bank account is frozen. In order to maintain the upper-class Manhattanite lifestyle he's been living, he grudgingly agrees to impregnate his ex girlfriend Fatima (Kerry Washington) and her new girlfriend Alex (Dania Ramirez). Receiving $10,000 for impregnating the two of them, Fatima convinces Jack to pony up his one trick to eighteen of her thirtysomething lesbian friends at 10G's a nut. Aronofsky-esque drug ingestion shots abound as Jack pops Viagra and Redbull to maintain stamina at these pregnancy parties, where five women each get a turn with Jack.

A few critics have taken issue with the film's portrait of lesbianism, claiming that it suggests that lesbianism is essentially heterosexuality-without-the-dudes. Reinforcing this viewpoint are "She Hate Me's" leading ladies, two bougie "lipstick" lesbians of color -- a light-skinned black woman and a Dominican mami -- with totally hellacious bodies, dude. But the lesbian representation isn't homogenous; rather, it runs the gamut and transcends racial borders. It's concurrently totally Hollywood and anti-Hollywood.

"She Hate Me" wraps itself up in so many questions that it's completely unable to resolve, and that's part of what makes it succeed. It diagnoses a politics that is weighted down by its anfractuous periphery and conflicted center. But in its articulation of these questions, it forces us to laugh at what makes us uncomfortable. It belies an almost tangible confusion in any attempt at reconciling its own identity, and unexpectedly brings us to a denouement that's ordo ab chao phrased through a deus ex machina. And like the XFL player from whom the film takes its name, what reads like a grammatical disaster conceals witty commentary on problematics that compromise identity.
9 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
Complex and provocative, with real personal & societal insights
ecto-323 August 2004
It has been said that dying is easy, but comedy is difficult. This latest, masterful release by Director Spike Lee should not merely be viewed as a comedy, although it does has some outrageous laughs based upon a social commentary about morality, corruption, and ultimately personal salvation. What makes this film challenging, and perhaps disappointing to some, is that it is so original that it does not easily fit into categories or expectations. However, Mr. Lee has indeed succeeded on many levels. In the finest traditions of breaking new ground in art, social commentary, satire, and caricature, with the likes of James Joyce, Marxist philosophers, Marshall McLuhan, Herbert Marcuse and others from the Frankfurt school, and pop culture icons, from Tom Lehrer, Bob Dylan, and Madonna, this film is right (or left) on target. It is not about donating sperm to lesbians, as some might think, or corruption in business and government. It uses lesbians and blacks as representations of anyone who is subject to being marginalized. The real message of this movie, in my view, is that our salvation and rescue lies within, and that personal morality, i.e., truth, is the tool we can use to uncover and destroy government and business deceits, from Watergate to Enron, and beyond. If you are looking just for laughs, and not to be challenged to think beyond the superficial, then this movie isn't for you. But for anyone who isn't brain dead, brain washed, or brainless, this just might be the best movie you've ever seen. I give it a 10, must see rating.
7 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
3/10
I Hate This
c4617 April 2006
OK, so I went to see this movie because of Monica Bellucci, however, I am a Spike Lee fan. This movie just went from bad to worse and I didn't even know what hit me. The script was not coherent, it flow wasn't smooth, and I really didn't get anything out of the movie but a scene of bewilderment for having to sit through that. People say there is a meaning in this movie but I just couldn't get passed the bad storyline. However, not to trash Spike to much, this movie defiantly obtained a cult status, so if the plot interests you this movie just MIGHT be for you, cause its definitely wasn't for me ... in fact I can say this movie was one of the worst movies I have ever seen. So thats it, it gets 3! On a side note, Spike Lee redeemed himself in Inside Man.
5 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
loading
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews