If you think of Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor or Beatrice Kiddo you will notice the actresses behind them have done a lot of work in other genres. Few dedicate themselves to a genre in the way that Jason Statham has (the genre of JASON STATHAM), knowing that there is always an audience for them there. The role of a woman in many an action film is, at best, a supporting character (even one when they're better than the eponymous hero).
What, you might wonder, has any of this got to to do with Sarah Jessica Parker? Has she not burned her bridges of goodwill after making the Sex in the City movies? There's no denying that, to put it politely, that film was not made for people like me. I worked in a cinema when it was on. It did terrifying things to its audiences. While seeing another usher being swept away by an impatient tide of cinema goers will haunt me to my dying days, it's also worth remembering the earlier part of her career: Footloose, Hocus Pocus, Ed Wood, and Mars Attacks (well, I like it) to name but a few.
|“I will not be judged by you or society. I will wear whatever and |
blow whomever I want as long as I can breathe and kneel.”
Then, since 1998, her filmography has largely consisted of romantic comedies as she has clung Statham-like to the one genre (safe in the knowledge that it has its fans just as action does). This article will therefore be written under the assumption that a bad action film is generally more fun than a bad romantic comedy. Often they are much, much funnier.
There's obviously nothing wrong with a good romantic comedy. However, comedy is a good way to smuggle in another kind of film altogether. That way everybody gets something out of it.
I mean, can't we all just get along?
Film #1: All Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye
Director: Edgar Wright
Supporting Cast: Josh Brolin, Sean Astin, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Welch
Edgar Wright turned down the forgettable and forgotten romantic comedy You, Me and Dupree. This rom-com would be more his style. Christopher Brookmyre's award winning novel is set in Scotland and part of its plot revolves around Celtic's 2003 UEFA Cup Final match in Seville. AFAGUSLAE is the story of Jane Fleming, a forty-something Granny who goes from the everyday life in a small Scottish town south of Glasgow to full on Bond movie globe-trotting spy escapades.
In the first two films of the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy Wright has shown he is adept at the heady contrast between the drudgery of everyday life and the excesses of genre movie set pieces. We've got a romance sub-plot, escapist fantasy, tense espionage sequences, and a quest across Europe to find Jane's missing son. Tweaking the plot to start in America doesn't necessarily get rid of the Catholic guilt angle, and having Parker play a busy Gran is another welcome step towards presenting some sort of realism before everything goes all movie-logic on us. While the book will doubtlessly lose some of its depth being transferred to an American setting and visual medium, if anything it'll probably be less different from the source novel than the TV adaptation of Brookmyre's début novel Quite Ugly One Morning.
Film #2: Rampant Escapism
Director: Steve Bendelack
Supporting Cast: Colin Firth, Matthew MacFadyen, Judi Dench, Hugh Grant, Miranda Hart.
Sarah Jessica Parker plays Rio, a waitress who is resigned to her life dwindling to a gin-induced tranquillity. She is understandably surprised when a stray cat wakes her in the middle of the night and tells her that she is Queen now. When her bedroom door opens onto a seemingly palatial interior, it seems that this is true, and she spends her days travelling around the country attending civic events and meeting deeply attractive landowners at big dinner parties. No-one seems to question why she is suddenly Queen, or why she has a cat on her head, but Rio isn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Not even when she has an actual gift horse. Then she is given an ultimatum: marry Colin Firth, the most eligible bachelor in the country, brother of the Prime Minister (Matthew MacFadyen), and founder member of the Oxford Sodomy Club, or the country will be forced to declare war on Turkmenistan.
Should she marry for love, or save the lives of millions of innocent people? Unsurprisingly, the cat is in favour of war, and running away with the Prime Minister for a quick snack at Little Chef before retiring to a Cold War bunker to live their lives on their own terms, and drink Gin as often as they want.
Okay. This is a bit garbled. But on the bright side, it's less predictable than quite a lot of romantic comedies.
Film #3: Living Doll
Director: Peter Jackson
Supporting Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Adrien Brody, Brad Dourif, Freida Pinto.
Sarah Jessica Parker plays Marina Hansell, a model who murdered her rival, and is killed by electric chair (cue spinning newspaper headlines reading 'Hansell: so hot right now'). Some god with a keen sense for ironic punishments transfers the model's soul into the body of a Barbie doll. While Hansell is initially delighted to find herself alive in some form, her afterlife is one of dramatic contrasts.
By night, she revenges herself on the modelling world that scorned her in her middle age, using her tiny frame to sneak through air ducts, open windows and under floors. The ensuing deaths are violent, for Hansell's days instil a sense of rage in her. This is because being a sentient Barbie doll is rubbish. She is attacked by dogs, cats and rats. Small children dress her up in terrible clothes, throw her around the room, and then undress and molest her. Whenever she tries to kill herself, she wakes up again in the the body of another Barbie doll, so she is fated to try to come to terms with her fate.
So, Child's Play crossed with Groundhog Day crossed with a Dario Argento film, with Peter Jackson having tired of making films where someone's brain isn't dragged out of their skulls through their nose. I can't see this one being drastically unpopular.
Film #4: Sex and the City 3
Director: John Landis
Supporting Cast: Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davies, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth.
Carrie and Mr Big are ever so happy. They are married, have lots of money and stuff, and are the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy, Heseltine. With Nanny Woowar (Jenny Agutter) looking after the infant, everyone is really incredibly happy indeed.
Then Carrie is bitten by a werewolf.