Blonde and Blonder
2008, Starring Pamela Anderson, Denise Richards, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Meghan Ory. Directed by Dean Hamilton (First Look International).
Guest Review by Allan Mott
There’s a lot to hate about Blonde and Blonder, a 2008 Canadian comedy that is so numbingly unfunny I fear it might someday be used by our future tyrannical overlords to torture any citizen found guilty of a Class 4 humour crime. But if I had to pick the one thing I hated the absolute most it would have to be the sinking sensation that the filmmakers involved actually believed at one point that they not only had a clever concept on their hands, but also just the right two actresses to bring that concept to life.
This is the concept that so impressed them: Dumb & Dumber with hot chicks. These are the two actresses deemed perfect for the assignment: Pamela Anderson and Denise Richards. “How can this go wrong?” you can imagine the producers wondering after the deals had been signed and the film cameras started to roll. Oh, let me count the ways….
First, the concept of wringing humour from the endearingly stupid adventures of two attractive dimwit heroines wasn’t quite as innovative as they imagined, having previously been beaten to the punch by much, much, much (muchmuchmuch!!!!) better flicks as Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion, Andrew Fleming’s oft-brilliant Dick and, of course, Thelma and Louise (oh, that Geena Davis! She has me rofling every damn time I see her!).
And, second, the masterminds behind Blonde and Blonder failed to learn the most important lesson of those previous efforts—it takes a lot of smart to convincingly play that kind of stupid (just look at the leads of Romy and Michelle and Dick and you’ll find one Oscar winner, one Oscar nominee, one Emmy winner and Kirsten Dunst, who was in The Virgin Suicides, so we’ll cut her some slack). But smart has never been an adjective used to describe either of Blonde and Blonder's two stars.
Truth is, for the majority of their acting careers Anderson and Richards have been used more as convenient props than cast as actual characters. In Anderson’s case this is especially understandable, since her outrageous proportions are so unbelievably cartoonish the only roles she could plausibly play are a Dolly Parton impersonator, a playmate/porn star, and/or some version of herself. In comparison, Richards’ curves are a little less mind-boggling, but her performances have always been affected by her distinct inability to suggest that the words coming out of her mouth are in anyway connected to the thoughts occurring inside her head.
In the past some filmmakers have been able to use Richards’ inherent vacuousness to their benefit. Paul Verhoeven expertly used her as a symbol of mindless fascist ambition in Starship Troopers, and in Wild Things and Drop Dead Gorgeous she aptly played the kind of smoking hot mean girls whose transparent manipulations and utter lack of self-reflection are easily forgiven in the face of their absurd sensuality. But for the most part she has spent her career either being epically miscast (atomic scientist Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough) or cast adroitly as a pleasing collection of body parts and big hair who have no apparent need for a discernable personality (did you ever see her short-lived reality show?).
Suffice it to say, the two actresses do not represent a dream team of comedy, unless that dream is a nightmare filled with long awkward silences and the worst examples of mistimed banter you’ve ever seen. How bad are there? Let’s put it this way: After I watched Blonde and Blonder I decided to watch Bio-Dome and for the first time the comedic duo of Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin felt like a freakin’ revelation. (That last sentence was a lie. The author of this review would never watch Bio-Dome. He was just trying to think of a really good example of a really terrible comedy team and Shore and Baldwin were the first two to come to mind. Why don’t you try to see how many other times he’s lied to you in the course of this review? It’s a fun game for everyone!)
Amazingly, though, Anderson and Richards do not represent the film’s biggest weaknesses. That dishonor goes to the script and direction, which prove that Blonde and Blonder would have been a disaster no matter who they had gotten to star in it.
The two leads play Dee and Dawn, two Vancouverites who meet for the first time when they both mistakenly assume the other one is a pilot instructor and they take off in a plane without knowing how to fly it. After crashing on a golf course, they discover they’re actually next-door neighbours who share a dream of dancing on Broadway, despite their obvious lack of talent.
They decide to team up and audition for dancing positions at The Beaver Patch Lounge, one of those strange only-in-bad-movies strip clubs where the dancers don’t take off their clothes (and make no real effort to dance). When told that the job is all about “producing erections,” the girls assume they’re auditioning for a musical about architecture.
Their audition doesn’t go as well as they hoped, since the owner of the club had just been previously murdered by a beautiful brunette hitwoman named The Cat (the truly gorgeous Vancouver actress, Emmanuelle Vaugier, who you’ll say you remember from Saw II, but will actually recognize from her role as Charlie Sheen’s girlfriend on Two and a Half Men) and they inevitably get pinned for the murder by the mafia and the cops assigned to watch over the witness-protected club owner.
The two mafia dudes (played by brothers-of-Chris Kevin and John Farley, who prove that talent is not genetic) follow Dee and Dawn back to Dawn’s house and offer them $250,000 to “take out” a Niagara Falls crimelord named Hung Wong. Assuming this means they just have to take him out for a date, they agree and eagerly accept the briefcase full of money.
Following a pointlessly extended montage of cars driving across Canada, everyone makes it to North America’s premiere honeymoon destination and much wackiness ensues as identities are confused, more people are killed, much cleavage is bared and all ends happily ever after.
Watching the film it quickly becomes clear that such niceties as consistency and verisimilitude were abandoned in the pursuit of laughs, with the result that the film offers none of the above. Dumb & Dumber's Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne were—for all of their stupidity—still fully realized characters, while in comparison the personalities of Dee and Dawn change from scene to scene and even joke to joke. It wouldn’t matter so much if the results were funny but, since absolutely nothing works, the result is a dismal, dreary mess.
I’ve truly only scratched the surface of Blonde and Blonder’s many, many faults—I didn't even mention the horrible plastic representation of a turtle who we’re supposed to accept as Dee’s pet, and who was apparently only put in the film to supply the requisite number of turtle fart jokes.
Nor did I touch upon the fact that, despite its multiple onscreen murders and generally unsavory characters, the film bends over backwards to remain as family friendly as possible (anyone who picks this up with the hope of seeing either lead in the birthday suits that made them famous will be very disappointed). Still, I think you get the point. Blonde and Blonder is the worst kind of cinematic fiasco—it’s so bad, you can’t even enjoy it ironically.