Blonde Ambition Achieves Little for Simpson Fans
- Annabelle Robertson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2008 29 Jan
DVD Release Date: January 22, 2008
Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content)
Run Time: 95 min.
Director: Scott Marshall
Actors: Jessica Simpson, Luke Wilson, Rachel Leigh Cook, Andy Dick, Drew Fuller, Penelope Ann Miller, Larry Miller, Willie Nelson
Small-town Okie girl Katie (Jessica Simpson) and Billy (Drew Fuller) have been together forever, so when Billy goes to New York to become a hand model, Katie is devastated. Fortunately, her sweet "Pap Paw" (Willie Nelson) comes to the rescue. Katie heads to the big city, only to find Billy in bed with another woman.
With nowhere to turn, she calls her actor-wannabe cousin Haley (Rachael Leigh Cook), who is working as a bike messenger. So she can go to an audition, Haley forces Katie onto her bike. During her first delivery, a corporate vice president (Penelope Ann Miller) and her lackey (Andy Dick) take Katie out for lunch, as part of a plan to replace the company CEO. Debra then transforms Katie, Eliza Doolittle style, with hair extensions and a designer wardrobe. She lands a job as executive assistant to the CEO (Larry Miller). Soon, Katie has zoomed to the top of the corporate ladder. Meanwhile, she falls for mail boy Ben (Luke Wilson).
Director Scott Marshall (Keeping up with the Steins), son of Garry Marshall, clearly doesn’t understand the importance of coaching actors—or perhaps that was simply impossible in Blonde Ambition. No one will be surprised that Simpson’s acting skills haven’t improved since Employee of the Month, but she doesn’t even get very upset when she learns that Billy is cheating on her. She acts not just naïve but stupid beyond belief, such as when she rebukes her mentor by saying, “Where I came from, that’s a lie,” only to then tell dozens of lies to her beloved Pap Paw, without any reason. If Simpson has a hope of a career in film, someone really needs to tell her to drop the petulant six-year-old act. And while they’re at it, could they also ask her to stop pursing her lips so much? She looks like a fish. A fish with scary red lipstick.
I’m not a fan of Luke Wilson, but this film is surprising, even for him. Maybe that’s the reason he didn’t wash or shave for his role. He fumbles and mumbles his way through the film, as if he’s just realized where his career is heading. Willie Nelson and Rachel Leigh Cook are the only ones who can hold up their heads without total shame, but even they are headed for the Oscars. Not so for Penelope Miller or Larry Miller, who are embarrassing with their overacting. Dick is absurd, and extremely annoying—despite Jessica and father Joe Simpson’s fawning over his “comedic” abilities in a DVD extra.
This is screenwriter John Cohen’s first professional effort, along with Matthew Flanagan, whose only credit is a 1996 TV series called Standard Deviants. Suffice to say that the inexperience shows. It’s vanity all the way with an absurd, nonsensical plot. Why would an experienced VP, for example, transform a ditzy bike messenger into an executive assistant? Why not call a staffing agency and take one of their candidates to lunch? Why would a savvy CEO allow his long-term exec to be fired without looking into the situation? Why would he hire Katie with so many resources at his disposal? Why would he then allow her—a young woman who can’t type, follow directions or hold a thought in her head—to meet with his most important clients?
The inanities are endless and made all the worse by Marshall’s inexplicable throwbacks to other films. Like the scene where Simpson’s dress blows up over a sidewalk grate, as she stands in front of a Seven Year Itch poster. And aunt Penny Marshall’s cameo as an executive who says that she’s “been to Milwaukee.”
If the film has any draw, it’s Simpson’s beauty. She’s a striking young woman—a point Marshall hammers home with lingering shots of his star’s plunging cleavage and shapely rear-end, all displayed in form-fitting clothing. What’s particularly disturbing about this scenario is that Simpson’s father, Joe, produced the film. Footage of him bragging about his daughter’s DD-sized breasts has been widely circulated, but this is even more distressing. Didn’t this man used to be a youth pastor?
The audience for Blonde Ambition is a mystery. With such patently silly production values, it seems geared to young girls, but its language and sexuality make it only appropriate for older teens or adults. In a brief “behind the scenes” featurette, Joe Simpson states that “This is a film for Jessica fans.” Remind me again. Who, exactly, are they?
- Deleted Scenes
- “Behind the Scenes” featurette
- Drugs/Alcohol: Mild, including a few quick shots of prescription pills used to frame an innocent employee.
- Language/Profanity: A handful of obscenities.
- Sexual Content/Nudity: Lingering and numerous cleavage shots of star (plunging necklines, tight blouses); several shots of a young woman’s clothed rear-end, followed by male approval; young woman climbs into bed with her boyfriend, only to discover another women with him; several scenes with a couple kissing and a few mild sexual allusions; also, a character appears to be homosexual but no mention of his sexuality is ever discussed or alluded to.
Violence: Mostly slapstick, physical comedy—especially pratfalls.