It was the trickle of pee heard around the world. Cannes attendees were aghast and/or amused an infamous scene from The Paperboy that shows Nicole Kidman urinating on Zac Efron; this is apparently a great salve for jellyfish burns which were covering our Ken Doll-like protagonist. (In fact the term protagonist should be used very loosely for Efron's character Jack who is mostly acted upon than active throughout.)
Lurid! Sexy! Perverse! Trashy! Whether or not it's actually effective is overshadowed by all the hubbub that's attached itself to the movie for better or worse. In fact the movie is all of these things — but that's actually not a compliment. What could have become somethingmemorable is jaw-droppingly bad (when it's not hilarious). Director Lee Daniels uses a few different visual styles throughout from a stark black and white palette for a crime scene recreation at the beginning to a '70s porno aesthetic that oscillates between psychedelic and straight-up sweaty with an emphasis on Efron's tighty-whiteys. This only enhances the sloppiness of the script which uses lines like narrator/housekeeper/nanny Anita's (Macy Gray) "You ain't tired enough to be retired " to conjure up the down-home wisdom of the South. Despite Gray's musical talents she is not a good choice for a narrator or an actor for that matter. In a way — insofar as they're perhaps the only female characters given a chunk of screen time — her foil is Charlotte Bless Nicole Kidman's character. Anita is the mother figure who wears as we see in an early scene control-top pantyhose whereas Charlotte is all clam diggers and Barbie doll make-up. Or as Anita puts it "an oversexed Barbie doll."
The slapdash plot is that Jack's older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to town with his colleague Yardley (David Oyelowo) to investigate the case of a death row criminal named Hillary Van Wetter. Yardley is black and British which seems to confuse many of the people he meets in this backwoods town. Hillary (John Cusack) hidden under a mop of greasy black hair) is a slack-jawed yokel who could care less if he's going to be killed for a crime he might or might not have committed. He is way more interested in his bride-to-be Charlotte who has fallen in love with him through letters — this is her thing apparently writing letters and falling in love with inmates — and has rushed to help Ward and Yardley free her man. In the meantime we're subjected to at least one simulated sex scene that will haunt your dreams forever. Besides Hillary's shortcomings as a character that could rustle up any sort of empathy the case itself is so boring it begs the question why a respected journalist would be interested enough to pursue it.
The rest of the movie is filled with longing an attempt to place any the story in some sort of social context via class and race even more Zac Efron's underwear sexual violence alligator innards swamp people in comically ramshackle homes and a glimpse of one glistening McConaughey 'tock. Harmony Korine called and he wants his Gummo back.
It's probably tantalizing for this cast to take on "serious" "edgy" work by an Oscar-nominated director. Cusack ditched his boombox blasting "In Your Eyes" long ago and Efron's been trying to shed his squeaky clean image for so long that he finally dropped a condom on the red carpet for The Lorax so we'd know he's not smooth like a Ken doll despite how he was filmed by Daniels. On the other hand Nicole Kidman has been making interesting and varied career choices for years so it's confounding why she'd be interested in a one-dimensional character like Charlotte. McConaughey's on a roll and like the rest of the cast he's got plenty of interesting projects worth watching so this probably won't slow him down. Even Daniels is already shooting a new film The Butler as we can see from Oprah's dazzling Instagram feed. It's as if they all want to put The Paperboy behind them as soon as possible. It's hard to blame them.
It's true Celine Dion took an extended break at the end of 1999, in part, to start a family, but for crying out loud, she's not there yet.
Celine Dion That's why the pop chanteuse is suing the National Enquirer for $20 million over a report saying she was pregnant with twins. The tabloid reported the "pregnancy" in its Feb. 1 issue, with a picture of Dion under the headline "Celine - I'm Pregnant With Twins."
"This thing has really upset me," said Dion in a statement read by her lawyer as the suit was filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. "Since that story came out, everyone has been congratulating me and I have to keep telling them that it's not true. I only wish it was true and I hope and pray that some day it will be."
Added her attorney Martin Singer: "Not only is the news false, but the weekly gave the impression that Mme. Dion had revealed her pregnancy during an interview which, in fact, never took place".
The 31-year-old singer's suit alleges misappropriation of the right of publicity, "false light invasion of privacy", unfair competition and unfair business practices, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Dion knows the tabloid wars well. In 1998, she sued a French rag for saying she was unable to conceive a child.
Dion has said she is taking two years off from her career to spend time with husband/manager Rene Angelil, who is being treated for skin cancer.
BABY TALK: Actor Billy Baldwin and Wilson Phillips alum Chynna Phillips welcomed their first child, daughter Jamison, on Sunday night at a New York hospital, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The babe weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces. Baldwin says mother and daughter are doing fine.
"I'm ecstatic," says the actor, who happily added that his wife's delivery was "easy."
Baldwin, 37, and Phillips, 32, wed in 1995.
SUPERNATURAL HONOR: How does Carlos Santana top tying Michael Jackson's Grammy record? By getting a town square built for him.
The guitarist's Mexican birthplace, Autlan de Navarro, is planning to honor him by building a square, a statue and placing his name on a local street, town officials said Monday.
``The square is in the southern part of the town, and it's almost finished,'' Autlan spokesman Marco Rodriguez told Reuters. ``We want to inaugurate it as 'Carlos Santana Plaza' in the second half of the year.''
The plaza will be decorated with a statue of Santana and other local musicians, including one of the 52-year-old rocker's father, Jose.
``Carlos himself suggested that,'' Rodriguez said. ``He wanted to have statues of other musicians, including his father.''
QUICK TAKES: Best Actress nominee Annette Bening ("American Beauty") will serve as an Oscar presenter March 26 -- provided she's not at the hospital giving birth to her fourth child. ...
Meanwhile, Oscar nominees Kevin Spacey, Julianne Moore and Haley Joel Osment will be presenters at the March 12 Screen Actors Guild Awards, set to air on cable's TNT. ...
Non-Oscar contender Will Smith leads the field with four nominations going into Nickelodeon's 13th Annual Kids' Choice Awards, to be held April 15 at the Hollywood Bowl. The actor/rapper is up for favorite movie actor, favorite song, favorite male singer and favorite song for a movie -- all derived from the mostly adult-loathed "Wild Wild West." ...
OBITUARY: The widow of screen legend Gary Cooper died Feb. 18 in her New York home, it's been learned. Veronica Cooper Converse was 87. Gary Cooper died of cancer in 1961.