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Slap Her, She's French (R)
A Premiere Marketing & Distribution Group
Official Site
Director: Melanie Mayron
Producers: Matthias Emcke, Beau Flynn, Jonathan King
Written by: Lamar Daman, Robert Lee King and Alan Ball
Cast: Piper Perabo, Jane McGregor, Trent Ford

Rating: out of 5

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 sensitive bimbo.

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.

—Nancy Semin

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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