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.
Top Story: Bullock Wins Injunction Against Stalker
Sandra Bullock was awarded a permanent injunction Friday against a Michigan man who has been harassing the actress with voice mail, faxes and phone calls, The Associated Press reports. Bullock did not appear in court but her lawyer told reporters that Thomas James Weldon had been stalking the actress for 18 months. No criminal charges were filed against Weldon. "We just wanted our client protected," her lawyer told AP, adding that Weldon, who is from Michigan but is "fairly transient," has a history of psychiatric problems. "Hopefully he will get some help and not fixate on Ms. Bullock."
'60s Drug Flick Finally OK'd by British Censors
Better late than never. The British Board of Film Classification finally gave the go-ahead to release the 1967 film The Trip in the U.K, Reuters reports. The film was written by Jack Nicholson and starred Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper two years before the three made the 1969 cult classic Easy Rider. The Trip never got a ratings certificate because of its graphic depiction of drug use.
American Idol Chairs To Be Auctioned Off
Want to take Simon Cowell's seat? Now's your chance. The office chairs used and autographed by the American Idol judges, including Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, will be auctioned off to benefit cancer-related charities, AP reports. Abdul's will be auctioned off to benefit a Michigan branch of the American Cancer Society on Aug. 22, while the chair signed by Jackson will benefit Chicago's The Common Thread for the Cure Foundation. Cowell's chair will be auctioned by a yet-to-be announced charity, AP reports.
Eminem and Wife Split Again Over Daughter
Eminem and wife Kim Mathers have split up again after having recently reconciled, Launch.com reports, primarily over conflicts about their daughter Hailie. Mathers believes Hailie may be in danger after the bad-boy rapper used her in a song on an underground mix tape. The song "Hailie's Revenge," about how Hailie saved Eminem from depression after the couple's first split, has Eminem and his daughter exchanging derogatory lines about hip-hop artist Ja Rule, with whom Eminem is engaged in a bitter feud. Mathers is allegedly angry at her ex-husband for exploiting the seven-year-old girl, according to Launch.com. The couple was married in 1999 and divorced in 2001.
Fan Electrocuted at Snoop Dogg/Chili Peppers Concert
Investigators are looking into the electrocution death of a college student Friday at the Red Hot Chili Peppers/Snoop Dogg concert in Charlotte, North Carolina, AP reports. Ashley Faris, 26, was killed at the Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre as he walked barefoot on a wet concrete stairway with metal edges. The show continued as planned and many concertgoers never knew anyone was hurt, AP reports.
CNN Wants O'Brien To Join Morning Team
CNN has offered NBC and MSNBC anchor Soledad O'Brien a spot as co-anchor for their show American Morning, according to The Hollywood Reporter. O'Brien, whose contract with NBC expires at the end of the month, would be replacing Paula Zahn, who is moving to anchor CNN's new American Evening program.
Role Call: Lopez Engaging Monster-in-Law, Witherspoon's Pregnancy Fits Fair
Jennifer Lopez is in early negotiations to star in the New Line comedy Monster-in-Law, in which she would play a woman who is set to marry the perfect guy until she meets his mother, the world's worst potential mother-in-law…Reese Witherspoon--who found out she was pregnant with her second child with husband, Ryan Phillippe right before she started her new film Vanity Fair--had her delicate condition written into the storyline. Directed by Mira Nair, the film in based on William Makepeace Thackeray's classic novel set in London in the 1820s. Witherspoon plays Becky Sharp, a social climber.