Slap Her, She’s French (2002) The Premiere Marketing and Distribution Group
1 hr. 33 mins.
Starring: Piper Perabo, Jane McGregor, Michael McKean, Trent Ford, Matt Czuchry, Julie White, Jesse James, Brandon Smith
Directed by: Melanie Mayron

Slap Her, She's French



Photo: Premiere Marketing and Distribution

If we’re to slap protagonist Genevieve LePlouff because she’s French, do we have that same option to slap her creators because they’re clueless and inept? In actress-turned-director Melanie Mayron (formerly from ABC-TV’s "thirtysomething") infuriating teen fish-out-of-water callous comedy "Slap Her…She’s French", we get more of the same trivial tripe involving outrageous high school antics and the bitchy bimbos who scheme to maintain their social status amongst their peers. The only thing that is considered a noteworthy conceived concept is the film’s kitsch-sounding title. Beyond that, "Slap Her, She’s French" is a hapless juvenile comedy that’s dimwitted and witless from the insipid and obnoxious throwaway characters right down to the monotonously mechanical comic devises that render this clunker intolerable. Mayron adds no distinctive direction here that would give this vehicle permission to be even considered an intentional clumsy farce.

The setting is stationed at Splendona High School that is located deep in the heart of Texas. And if anyone knows about the legendary competitive spirit of Texans within the incredibly vast Lone Star State (particularly in athletics and business-minded affairs), then one will come to understand the snooty ambition of one Starla Grady (Jane McGregor). The good-looking viper-minded vixen with the driven urge to succeed had just recently won her small-town beauty pageant contest. And as part of the conceited demeanor to win over the finicky judges, Starla declares her stance on making sure that her family will sponsor a foreign exchange student to ensure her worthiness as a crowned cutie. But soon Starla’s hidden selfish agenda will come back to haunt her in more ways than she’ll ever imagine.

Arriving fresh from France is beret-wearing, four-eyed beauty Genevieve LePlouff (Piper Perabo), a cunning and calculating lass whose French accent is as smooth and unassuming as her devious plans to upset the cozy conditions of her privileged hostess Starla. Genevieve brings with her a twisted promise to upstage the equally shallow Starla and dethrone her mainly by deflating her enormous ego (not to mention capturing that crown she hopes to wear on her own nefarious noggin). Strangely enough, Genevieve actually started out worshiping the opportunistic two-step tramp Starla because she seemingly "had it all". But it’s Genevieve’s turn to shine in the sun and assume the spotlight that should be reserved for her instead. And thus the predictable showdown approaches between the Parisian piranha and the Texan tart. Gee, isn't this dandy, huh?

Of course, when push comes to shove Starla isn’t going to take any crap from her phony back-stabbing French foe. Determined to maintain her livelihood and good standing as the precious and preferred popular girl in her community, Starla enlists some help from dependable and good-natured fellow student Ed Mitchell (Trent Ford) and her nebbish sibling Randy (Jesse James). The trio’s mission is exposing the scheming Genevieve for who she really is - an obsessed and envious copycat.

The concoction behind the premise of "Slap Her, She’s French" is painfully pedestrian and relentlessly unimaginative. With an anemic script by screenwriters Robert Lee King (who directed "Pycho Beach Party") and Lamar Damon, the film flounders in the turgid waters of inexcusable familiarity. Mayron never has fun or the fortitude in trying to helm her tacit teen revenge fable beyond the disabling confines of the force-fed menial material. What is so shockingly original about mocking the ridiculous vanity of spoiled pageant princesses - something we have seen countless times over in better films? And when is it acceptable to drain every cliched’ and tired joke known to man? (i.e. convenient miscommunication via smirky double entendres, prolonged and disjointed slapstick bits, exhausting pseudo-wacky one-dimensional caricatures, etc.)

The cast members who take part in this atrocity reluctantly go through the motions while stimulating this fettered farce in grand, incompetent fashion. Hopelessly dormant and convincingly dopey, "Slap Her, She’s French" is one desperate satire that misses the mark on every level imaginable. To slap some sense into the fruitless creativity of Genevieve, Starla and the filmmakers behind this snickering ordeal may not be harsh enough. Hmmm…I wonder if a hearty punch to the abdomen would do the trick?

Click here to comment on this review or post your own thoughts.

Frank Ochieng


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