Tuesday, 26 May 2009

No. 139 : While She Was Out

Call me an old chauvinist, but when I saw this was a revenge thriller written and directed by a lady I thought that the male characters may not come across too well. But you know what they say about making assumptions, don’t you? Yes, that’s right they are quite often correct.

Kim Basinger plays Della, a put upon housewife. She is the mother of twins and the wife of a right bastard who expects the house to be a bit tidy when he comes home from work. “What do you do all day” he reasonably asks only to be rewarded with some attitude and no martini. It happens to be Christmas eve so after her hard day of slobbing about Della decides to go to the mall for some wrapping paper.

Della’s tough day soon gets worse however when she has trouble getting a parking space (on Christmas eve - go figure!) and a coffee server spells her name wrongly on her cup. - no wonder she’s ready to burst. She manages to get her stuff despite another crisis with her credit card and she heads for home. She does however regret leaving a pissy note on a badly parked car when the occupants show up to tell her off.

Luckily Paul Blart is on duty as he tells the four thugs to move on but gets a couple of slugs in his head for his trouble. Della manages to get away with the foursome in pursuit but rather than head home or to a police station she dives off into a half built housing scheme before crashing her car. The bad guys, lead by an unthreatening Lukas Haas, are white, black, Asian and Chinese - a multi cultural cadre of evil! I suspect their ethnicity was a deliberate ploy to show that ALL men are bastards, regardless of colour.

Anyway the baddies have Della trapped in the housing scheme or is it she who has trapped them? What follows is a series of unfortunate events where Della, armed with her trusty tool box, systematically takes out the bad guys with various implements - you go girl! Before long it’s Della vs. Lukas and it’d be a brave man who’d bet on the bloke!

I quite enjoyed this film but it was let down by its feminist agenda and ropey last 15 minutes. The male characters are awful to a man and you can see this as nothing more than female wish fulfilment from a bunch of angry and possibly menopausal dungarees wearers. If this were made the other way around there would be a justified outcry, but as it is, it just comes across as silly and illogical.

Della is obviously near breaking point due to the many traumas we see her suffer in her domestic life but how this transforms her into an SAS survival expert isn’t fully covered. I did like some of the gory deaths though with the tyre iron a genuine classic.

Basinger does well with the weak material, but I bet inside she’s thinking ‘I won an Oscar why am in this crap!’. Haas is very poor as the lead villain and spends most of the film shouting ‘Dell-a Dell-a’ like he’s auditioning for a dyslexic production of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. His demise is the most far fetched of all and highlights that it’s a woman writing the script - if I’d seen three of my pals butchered I’d be running for the hills not getting amorous with the strangely willing assailant!

If you add up my various moans you’ll probably think the film is a waste of time but I enjoyed it and it’s rather blinkered view of humanity. Possibly not one to watch with the good lady however - maybe suggest she gets on with the laundry will you partake of its dubious pleasures.

Best Bit : I’ll just loosen those face nuts for you
‘W’ rating : 14/23

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