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She Hate Me | Review

Shooting Blanks

Sex and politics don’t mix well in Lee’s overfilled satire.

How does one make Jello? Simple. Open the packet, add the water and place in the fridge. How does one make comedy? Comedy is subjective. Chaplin knew funny and Keaton mastered funny, but not many succeed with funny. Delivered in a multitude of tones, an overreaching narrative, grossly exaggerated characters and one too many subplots – Spike Lee’s confused, badly-mounted comedy has a couple of brightly thought-out funny spots, but the lack of focus and confusing structure makes for a film that bounces off one too many walls. Sacked for being a whistle blower and dumped by his girlfriend, the unlucky Jack Armstrong (Anthony Mackie), an unemployed young black American finds himself at rock bottom. Like the climbs and drops in Nortel stock – his mojo and profit margin suddenly rock the charts as he becomes a high-priced procreator of life for the masses of maternally-mad New York City lesbians. Women with no need for men line-up for sloppy seconds, the mob get involved for half a second, and the protagonist’s bickering parents apparently look like human beings, but they come off as cartoon figures. Co-written by Michael Genet and Spike Lee, the duo pluck in one too many newspaper headlines, She Hate Me could have easily become two separate movies – instead of one that tries to pass itself into too many loops. Animated sequences offer an amusing side-dish, but unfortunately, the list of actors are offered poorly written one-dimensional characters. Turturro gives a very forgettable performance as a Mafioso head of family, whose daughter looks older than he does. Enron scandal aside, its difficult to fathom what the director had in mind, and clocking in at over two hours She Hate Me/i> is a misfire and a major step down from his seductive The 25th Hour .

Rating 1.5 stars

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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