Slap Her, She's French (2002) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sex-related humor, drug content and language
Running Time: 92 min.
Cast: Piper Perabo, Jane McGregor, Trent Ford, Michael McKean, Julie White
Director: Melanie Mayron
Screenplay: Lamar Damon, Robert Lee King
Review published February 9, 2002
Director Melanie Mayron (The Baby-Sitters Club, Mean Girls 2), who has spent the last 15 years starring and acting in a variety of television series, continues her style with an off-the-wall comedy which almost feels like a long pilot for a potential television sitcom than as a motion picture release. While there are some genuine comedic moments within, there really is only enough story here to justify filling a half hour episode, with commercials. Mayron isn't at fault for this movie's inability to sustain its comedy, rather it's the feeble idea for a screenplay in combination with sporadic moments of humor.
Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle) plays Genevieve, a French foreign exchange student sent to a small Texas town when the aspiring debutante Starla (McGregor, Bang Bang You're Dead) makes a pledge during a beauty contest to help the community of people. Genevieve comes off as a bit shy, but has an uncanny ability to make friends, and soon Starla finds that Genevieve's popularity is soaring above her own. It soon becomes apparent that Genevieve is trying to take over Starla's place in the town spotlight, and although Starla clearly sees the schemes for what they are, the rest of the town has the wool firmly pulled over their eyes as the the sweet, young Frenchie's intentions. It's up to Starla alone to expose the fraud for what it is, but the more she tries, the more unpopular she seems to get.
Knowing film buffs may relate the film's plot to the infamous classic All About Eve, but more modern filmgoers will see this more as a mix of Clueless and Single White Female The film has a very high camp value, all intentional, and the humor works well on the occasional scenes where there's some inspiration. While the film as a whole is critically lacking freshness for most of the running time, it certainly is not due to the cast, with Piper Perabo in particular impressing the most, showing a comedic appeal that would serve her best if she would avoid making bad films.
Although I have to give the film a low review for failing to sustain ingenuity and interest, I can't say some viewers, especially younger female viewers, won't come away liking Slap Her She's French if they have extremely low expectations and a love of quirky characters put in outlandish situations. Most others will probably find the experience such a waste of time, they will slap themselves for plunking down money for this one.
©2002 Vince Leo