Shhh. Can you hear it? Can you hear that little whistle on the wind? Yes, that is the sound of souls being sucked out of bodies. That is the sound of weaves being tightened and Botox needles cascading from a red plastic container of biomedical waste into a dumpster. That is the sound of sleeves being slit up the center so that women can show off their perfectly toned shoulders. Yes, that can only mean one thing: the Real Pirouettes of Folderol Gulch have returned for their annual mating season. Well, not mating so much as socializing at bull***t parties, getting mad at each other, and airing their grievances for the world to see. With the churn and snap of gristle ratcheting into place, the female beasts of Beverly Hills get ready to graze once again.
As with all things, let us begin with their high priestess, who holds a virgin heart in her hands and raises it up to her pagan god, the blood rolling down her outstretched arms, not scarlet or crimson or maroon, but pink. Yes, that is Lisa Vanderpump and she has a new burnished granite cave to call her own. Did you see Lisa's freaking house? It's like the Fortress of Solitude but made out of white marble. She said she wanted something "smaller" but this thing is, wow. Alright, now we need to talk about her closet. People always go into a walk-in closet and jealously say, "Wow, this is as big as my whole apartment." Brandi goes into it and says, "Wow, this is as big as my whole apartment," and she is actually telling the truth. Her closet is immense and immaculately organized and then, it opens up into a secret beauty lair, where she does all her bloodletting, face tightening, and stem cell harvesting to keep herself looking spry and sprightly. If ever I was jealous of a person living in a pink and white hive of luxury, then this was the time.
Anyway, Brandi was over Lisa's house because they are now besties since no one else really likes them. They say they're really tight, but their relationship seems to consist of Brandi flirting with Lisa's husband Ken, the forgotten member of Cheap Trick, and Lisa laughing about it because she knows that a Playboy pinup like Brandi doesn't really have any interest in her husband's ripe gherkin getting anywhere close to her vagina hole.
After a turn at Lisa's house, it's Lisa's time to go visit Brandi at her Sad Ranch in the Valley, which she seems to have inherited from Kim Richards. Brandi's house sort of looks like what would happen if a trailer decided that it didn't want to move anymore, planted itself in the dirt and pushed up some lawn and shrubs all around it. It is not at all spectacular (unlike Brandi's bosom) but she is happy and content, so good for my girl Brandi. While the two are hanging out there, Kyle's adorable daughter Portia calls Lisa on the phone and says, "Lisa, dahhhling. Come to my birfday pawtee. It's at 1."
Yes, Portia is learning how to use a phone. Not how to dial and hold a headset like most people learn, she is learning to call her friends and talk only on speakerphone. That is how Real Housewives do it, after all. Because it's on speaker, Brandi overhears and says, "Hi, Kyle, it's Brandi!" Now, she wasn't quite looking for an invitation to the party, but she got one and she tells Kyle she would love to come. Brandi says, "Oh, yeah, me and Kyle are friends." and Kyle says, "I don't have any problem with Brandi," but you can see the truth right behind their eyes. It's like how the IRA feels about the Northern Irish. There's supposedly a cease fire, but the first person to take the name of the Virgin Mary in vain is going to get their face bloodied with a rotting potato.
Speaking of missing invitation and speaker phone, Taylor's lips, which are a separate symbiotic organism that lives on her face, disconnected themselves from her head and walked over to meet Adrienne, Queen of the Maloofs (a race of mole people that live under a mountain), and her husband Pozo the Chimp for dinner. "Hey girl," Taylor's lips say. "I'm not really eating tonight, because I left the mouth at home, but Taylor has gained 10 whole pounds and now she can't squeeze into any of her cocktail dresses. Will you take that bitch shopping, because if she shows up in one more pair of black harem pants that her skinny ass can't fill in so it looks like she's carting a dump around a party, then I am going to find some other head to latch onto, because I can't take it anymore? Oh, that and she needs something to wear to the Villa Blanca Anniversary Party on Wednesday."
"Oh, what Villa Blanca Anniversary Party on Wednesday? I haven't heard anything about that!" Queen Maloof says. Well, that is because Lisa did not invite her. Yes, Lisa and Adrienne are in a fight. That's not necessarily true. Adrienne decided that she is mad at Lisa. Why? Who the hell knows. A black and white reunion flashback told us it has something to do with selling a story to the tabloids. It really has nothing to do with anything. It's not like even one of those stupid Housewives fights like, "I was having a charity luncheon and you tried to 'clear the air' with X and then it just wasn't the time. You owe me an apology." No, it's not even that. It's just some stupid thing that Adrienne made up in her mind that she is angry with Lisa and isn't talking to her. That is why no one is on Adrienne's side, because she has nothing to be angry about. Adrienne is a Housewife. She can't even make up a fake reason that seems vaguely rational?
Once Adrienne knows about the party she says, "If Lisa's objective was to embarrass me, then she did it." Oh please, Adrienne. That wasn't her intent at all. She didn't even think that hard about it. She thought, "Should I invite Adrienne to my party? That bitch is mad at me. Nope!" and then licked her crystal-encrusted pencil and crossed her name off the list. It makes total sense. And if we're talking about embarrassment, how do you think Lisa feels when you falsely accused her of selling stories to a tabloid on national television? You think she feels all warm and fuzzy inside like she just masturbated and then ate a big bowl of soup and a brownie? No, she feels like shit. Lisa says she's ready to move on if Adrienne calls her with an apology. I think that seems fair, but this looks like it's headed for a big old confrontation.
Like a kid sitting at the top of the stairs waiting to rush down on Christmas Day and tear through all his presents at once, I just can't wait any more. It is now time to talk about Kim Richards. Oh, Kim, I've missed you so so much, and you did not at all disappoint last night. You are still my favorite. Kim is just 30 days out of rehab and she's already back on the Housewives treadmill, which means she's headed for a big old crash sometime in the near future. We see her going to her sister Kathy Hilton's house which is very exciting because this is the first time that any of the Hiltons have dared to bow down and be on this little reality enterprise with their less fortunate sisters. Kathy, who looks like she dressed as Candace Bergen for Halloween and never took off her outfit, is helping Kim's daughter Kimberly (which is the craziest normal name since Prince Michael Jackson II) find a prom dress. Kathy has all these dresses lined up and I can't tell if they are like her dress line or she just has a rack of dresses in her living room and everyone gets to try them on? Probably the later. Then Kathy asks Kimberly if she's gotten a boutineer and both Kimberlys in the room say, "What?" Then Original Recipe Kim says, "I got a boot and I can hear!" Oh, good one Kim. I would have gone with, "I've a booty and you are near," but maybe she doesn't want to talk about her younger daughter and booty right to everyone's face.
They're all sitting around and Kim tells us one of her stories that lets us inside her soul. "Kath, do you remember that prom I went to the prom with Dan? Remember him? He was one of the other Disney actors and neither of us went to a real high school so we didn't have a prom, but he got invited by a friend of his to go to his prom somewhere in Altadena and he asked me to go because he didn't really know any other girls. Well, I went to the wardrobe department and I was 17 and I told them that I wanted a dress that was beautiful and flowing and kind of sexy but not like too sexy, you know. We went through racks and racks and racks of clothing and it was so fun and I felt like a princess. It made me feel so special, all those dresses just for me and a cute boy who really seemed to like me. I got all dressed up and it was a long purple dress with some flowers by the bodice and we did my hair up all big and poofy, remember Kath? We had the whole makeup team at the house making me gorgeous and you and Kyle were so jealous that I was going to the prom with Dan.
"And then he pulls up, not in a limo or anything, but in a pickup truck, and it had a camper attached to the back! It wasn't like a Winnebago or anything, it was one of those pop up campers so it just looked like a flat bed and it was beige and had orange stripes around it and I was so scared of that camper. That camper had a bed in it and Mommy told me never to be around boys and beds because that means he's going to try to reach for my special treasure box, and I couldn't let just anyone open that box. Mommy said it could only be opened once by a really good boy who I really loved and that Danny wasn't the boy. So, I was scared of that camper and getting my dress dirty in the pickup truck, but we drove all the way out to Altadena and we had our prom at this place called the Aquaturf, which was crazy because there was no aqua and no turf. Hahahahaa.
"Anyway, we didn't really know anyone else there so we just talked to each other and laughed and tried to make new friends and they told us they'd seen us in the movies and on TV and people didn't know what to do with us. They wanted to be our friends, but they were scared, you know. After the prom most everyone went to this bonfire somewhere out in the woods, but Mommy said I had to be home so Danny and I left. But on the way, he pulled over at the movie theater down the street from our house and he pulled in the back of the parking lot, where the cars never go. 'I have something I have to show you. Wait here,' he said.
"He got out of the car and started to crank open that camper and I got really scared. I didn't want to go back there with him because he was gonna try to touch my treasure box and I didn't want him to, but he cranked that camper up and it was fully open and then he went in and was doing something in there and banging and making all these noises, and I was so nervous I thought about getting out of the car and calling Mommy to come get me, but just as I reached for the door, he was there on my side and opened the door and held my hand as I stepped down. He lead me into that camper and I was so nervous, I didn't know what to do. I was so scared.
"But we got to the door and he opened it and there was a bed, but that's not what he wanted. Right there in the doorway was this little table that had like Formica on it but it looked like wood and on that cheap table was a big vase full of roses and two candles that were lit and two small champagne flutes. He poured us both some champagne and it made my throat feel warm as I drank it down and then I felt loose and I felt so special that he had done all that for me. We drank some more and we finished the bottle and I felt so great inside and we were laughing and talking and dreaming about the house we would buy together some day and start a family and my head felt all swimmy.
"That's when he leaned over and kissed me, and it felt so good. It was the first time. At 17 it was the first time that a boy had ever kissed me. I felt so loved and like we really connected and a little bit like I was going to fall over, but it felt so good. He stood me up and lead me over to the bed in the camper and I went with him. We kissed and kissed and I moved his hand under my dress and up my thigh and I thought, 'Why not? Why not let him into my, you know, treasure box,' but he said, 'No, Kim. That's not what I want. I just want to be with you and kiss you.' And we kissed for a long time and then we just lied there, with me tangled up in his arms, my hair getting messy on the bed. We fell asleep like that and woke up in the morning and I was so scared Mommy was going to kill me because we had been out all night. The candles were burned down and we packed the camper up and he drove me home and Mom was pissed. Even though I told her nothing happened, she didn't really believe me, but it was the greatest night of my life, that prom. Yeah, the best night of my life. I wonder where Dan is now?"
What a lovely story, Kim. Thanks for that. The only person who is in more love is the new Housewife Yolanda Foster, the only Yolanda I've ever seen on TV who didn't have a talk show in the '90s. We don't know much about Yolanda right now. She's a friend of Lisa and was married to Lisa's friend Mohammed, the one who dates living blow up dolls and throws elaborate parties for Lisa every year where there are elephants in the driveway and creepy screaming mermaids by the pool. She used to be a model and now she is married to composer David Foster. Oh, and she is Dutch, which means her kitchen has a Dutch Oven (that was as close to a fart joke as I could get today).
The one thing we know about Yolanda and David's marriage is that he writes her love notes every day. They go something like this:
"My Dearest Yolanda:
It has been five years since I first saw you sunbathing topless on St. Bart's and not a day goes by when I don't dedicate the boner I have when I wake up in the morning to the sight of your toned behind on the beach that day. You are my everything. You are my eggs in the morning and my After Eight Mints at night. You are the moon and the stars, but you're not famous like a real star, just like a reality star. You bring me tea with flowers and you put up with the rude way I treat all your friends even as I am undressing them with my eyes. I have an Oscar. Let's fuck, but then you have to leave me alone because I have to work.
Love, Your David
So, yes, Yolanda is at Lisa's party and meets everyone and Kim is a big fan of hers because Kim, like any addict, always cozies up to the new girl. Why? Because that is the girl she hasn't wronged yet! Yolanda loves Kim! The one fun thing we find out about her is that she and Kyle have the same birthday and I look at them and they are like Yin and Yang (and by Yin and Yang, I mean the cats my Chinese neighbor has). They are like two halves of one person, the light and the darkness. But which one will be witch (misspelling intentional).
Nothing much happens at the party except people are being weird about Brandi because, well, she pissed just about everyone off with her awesomeness. Kim and Kyle are also having a strained relationship, because duh. That's the funny thing about rehab. You think that if you fix one problem it will fix them all, but you have all those foundational instabilities from the years of drinking and mistreating each other and you can't just fix those by sobering up. It's going to take hard work. Kim, like always, says she wished things can go back to the way they were, but the one lesson in life Kim needs to learn is that you can't go back. You can't just find that warm spot in the bed once you get up. No, you need to lie back down and warm up another spot. That is how life works. You can't go back, you can only plow through the now to get to the soon. The soon will be better.
Everyone is having a boring time at the Villa Blanca Party and then suddenly, four people come walking in with something that looks like a sea monster washed up on the shore, died, spilled its organs out onto the beach, and the whole thing cooked in the sun for three days. "What the fuck is this thing?" Lisa says? Oh, there's a card. "Congrats on your party. Best of luck, HRH Adrienne of the Maloofs."
Yes, it was a flower arrangement, but these were a very rare and exotic breed of flowers called the Passivio Aggressivus. Apparently they grow orange and yellow and only prosper in giant piles of shit which, sadly, have to be delivered along with the flowers. They say, "I want to pretend like I'm giving you something nice, but really, eat shit."
This was the absolute worst thing ever to happen at a Real Housewives party, and I mean that seriously. Sure, Joanna Krupa got her face bashed in just last week on Housewives Miami, but this is even worse. These are spite flowers. And not just any spite flowers, they are ugly spite flowers. (Why would you send anything of color to a place called Villa Blanca? Huh?) So, Adrienne didn't make it to the party, but she made her presence known with a turd and a howl, as a dozen people had to carry in her turd blossoms. Ugh, this was just the worst. And everyone there made a grimace and shook their head in unison, like it was a new line dance like the Macarena or the Gangnam Style. What a sad, sad display for Queen Adrienne.
But at home, she sat on her throne and smiled into the hand mirror that she made her husband, Pollo the Chimp, hold in front of her face. "Oh, they're all going to love me now," she thought. "They're going to see those flowers and think, look at how Lisa has done Adrienne wrong. She should be there. She should be invited. Yes, those flowers will prove how great I am. Don't you see? Don't you see that my plan is finally coming together?" She threw her head back and laughed her hearty laugh and put her snub nose up in the air as the caverns under the mountain catapulted the sound back and forth, the echo rising up into a rumble that made the ground quake, that made the trees on top of the mountain tremble, but when the laugh was done, they settled back down, and the boughs seemed to droop lower than ever before.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: Bravo]
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A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Claire is an attractive CIA operative and Ray is an M16 agent who simultaneously leave their Governmental spy activities in the dust to try and profit from a battle between two rival multi-national corporations both trying to launch a new product that will transform the world and make billions. Their goal is to secure the top-secret formula and get a patent before they are outsmarted. While their respective egomaniacal CEOs engage in an unending battle of wills and one-upmanship Claire and Ray start out conning and playing one another in a clever game of industrial espionage that is even more complicated due to their own long-term romantic relationship.
WHO’S IN IT?
Reuniting Closer co-stars Julia Roberts (as Claire) and Clive Owen (as Ray) turns out to be an inspired idea. They turn out to be the perfect pair oozing movie-star charm and electricity in this elaborate con-game that might have been the kind of thing Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant might have made in the '60s (in fact they did in Charade). Roberts with that infamous hairstyle back the way we like it and Owen looking great in sunglasses prove they have what it takes to navigate us through this ultra-complex plot in which no one is sure who they can trust at any given moment. They play it all in high style and the wit just flows as the story skirts back and forth during the period of five years. The supporting cast is well-chosen with juicy roles for Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti (out of their John Adams duds) as the two CEOs going for each other’s throats. Giamatti who sometimes has a tendency to overdo it is especially slimy here and great fun to watch.
Big-star studio movies today rarely take risks and often talk down to the audience but in Duplicity writer/director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) has crafted a complicated con-comedy that requires complete attention at all times just to keep up with the dense plot’s twists and turns. It’s the cinematic equivalent of a New York Times crossword puzzle and Gilroy and his top-drawer production team deliver a glossy beautiful-looking film that’s easy on the eyes hitting locations from Dubai to Rome to New York City.
Like any good puzzle it sometimes can be frustrating putting it all together and Gilroy’s habit of taking us back in time and then inching forward gets a little confusing even with the on-screen chyron pointing out where we are at any given moment. Stick with it though and you will be well-rewarded.
A scene near the end where the formula must be found scanned and faxed in a matter of minutes is sweat-inducing edge-of-your-seat moviemaking and it provides the ultimate opportunity for Roberts and Owen to take the “con” to the next level. Another where Roberts uses a thong to try and trick Owen into admitting an affair he never had is also priceless and gets right to the heart of the game-playing.
GO OUT AND GET POPCORN WHEN ...
Never. Stock up during the coming attractions. If you miss a moment of this entertaining romp you might never figure it all out.