She Gets What She Wants Review

Sep 09, 2003 | 2:34pm EDT

Welcome to the fictional town of Splendona Texas whose citizens gorge on huge plates of beef attend beef beauty pageants (in which contestants actually wear sirloin skirts) and watch bone-crushing high-school football games played by beefy brain-dead high school hunks. Barbie-bimbo Starla Grady (Jane McGregor) the most popular girl in school has but one ambition in life: to become the most popular talk show host in America. All is coming up ribs and roses for Starla--until her family takes French foreign exchange student Genevieve LePlouff (Piper Perabo) into their home. At first Starla warms to the wide-eyed naïve foreign cutie but when Genevieve flirts with Starla's lunkhead quarterback boyfriend Starla becomes suspect of LePlouff's true intentions. Of course this could all be contributed to cultural misunderstanding. But when Starla is kicked off the cheerleading squad for flunking her French class the more-oo-la-la-by-the-frame hottie is only too willing to help Starla boost her grades--and take Starla's place on the football field. Soon LePlouff is ruining Starla's life by putting mind-altering substances in her health drink stealing her loved ones and conniving to teach her humiliating French words. Now it's time for revenge! Texas-style.

Slap Her…She's French (which has almost nothing to do with France) is more about bad accents (read: really bad) than culture clash. If one can get beyond Jane McGregor's (MTV's "Live Through This " making her screen debut here) gooey gosh-darn-it Texas drawl they'll find she's pleasant enough to watch; in fact kind of fun in a goofy Goldie Hawn-meets-Renee Zellweger way. Perabo (Coyote Ugly) isn't bad either given her froggy American imitation of a French accent (which is the point mind you). Most of the players seem to be having fun given the uneven material and considering that filming started way back in November 2000 and the original director walking off the set after the first week. (So yeah this is another one of those movies that was shelved for quite some time.) Michael McKean as Starla's French teacher Monsieur Duke is sort of funny too--especially since he takes the exaggerated French-accent jokes to the extreme. At least you know he's doing it for the laugh.

Not only is Slap Her…She's French about bad accents and choice cuts but there are also some lesbian overtones and a heck of a lot of shots of cows lumbering around munching grass. Veteran actress and director Melanie Mayron has said she had great fun directing the movie--but great fun does not a great movie make. In one barely funny and long-winded scene Starla is unwittingly tripping on mushrooms courtesy of LePlouff and we are offered a twisted fish-eye lens view of the entire episode. But we get that same fish-eye view when the characters are addressing Starla. Are they tripping too? Are we tripping? Ultimately Slap Her… plays more like a made-for-TV movie replete with sneaky parents a nerdy younger brother sappy love theme music and giggling sleepover girlfriends.

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