There are several reasons to hate Slap Her, She's French,
but the best one is because of the title. I get the distinct
feeling some folks came up with what they thought was a catchy
title and were quite pleased with themselves. After several
self-congratulatory pats on the back, a screenplay got written
as an afterthought, and when I say afterthought, I mean as
in, “Hey I insulted somebody three weeks ago when I was really,
really drunk and gee, maybe I could write a screenplay…”
As one can guess from the title, this is another insipid
film aimed at a youth-oriented audience. This time around,
it’s about Starla (McGregor), an ambitious blonde baby
doll from Splendor, Texas who dreams of sharing the spotlight
someday with Katie Couric. Only for the sake of furthering
her resume, she agrees to host a foreign exchange student.
With such insincere intentions, it is not surprising that
when Genevieve (Perabo) arrives from France, Starla
turns her into a toady, allowing her to tote books around
school and idly sit in the stands during cheerleader practice.
But Genevieve is not the French ingénue she pretends to be.
She is actually out to sabotage Starla's life and take over
her vacuous high school existence. When Darla fails French,
Genevieve subs for her on the cheerleading squad. Then Genevieve
begins to get more coverage in the student newspaper. Before
long, a coterie of admirers is following her around and the
once-popular Starla is now left out in the cold, wondering
how high schoolers can be so cruel.
The problem with all this is Starla and Genevieve are so
ill-contrived, we don't really know who to root for when the
tables begin to turn. And Starla's life is stupid to begin
with, so we are never given an incentive to care when a tart
like Genevieve starts muscling in on her shallow lifestyle.
But luckily for Starla, the sensitive cute boy with the big
brown eyes intervenes just in time to save the day. Not only
does he help expose Genevieve’s scheme, he also helps Starla
realize all her suffering has made her a much deeper, more
To its credit, Slap Her, She's French doesn’t pander
to its audience like the usual teen comedies that feature
undersexed boys or teenage girls who are always taking their
shirts off. But even you if think horny boys and big tits
are an advantage, the predictable romance and ridiculous climactic
ending will erase any feelings of goodwill the film title
or the genre inspires.
With all that said, this film does merit a single star for
one truly funny moment that takes place early in the film.
Competing in a suburban Texas beauty pageant, Starla and a
chorus of young nymphs perform a choreographed routine while
singing homage to the beef industry. This quirky scene happens
at the very start of the film, but the sharp humor is never
duplicated, and like Starla we too are left in cold to wonder
how filmmakers can be so cruel.