The Real Blonde
If, like me, you’ve been waiting for writer-director Tom DiCillo to re-create the magic of his deliriously funny on-the-set-of-an-indie-film satire, Living in Oblivion (1995), you’re going to have to wait longer. In The Real Blonde (Paramount), DiCillo turns his eye on New York’s high-glam image-manipulation machine: preeningly kinky fashion shoots; Madonna videos; soap operas; the vast, overlapping array of models, actors, and wannabes who leap with sleek interchangeability in and out of each other’s beds. Their beauty, we’re told, is all for sale. But is it for Real?
The question would have more urgency if DiCillo had skewered this world with nearly the wit or observational prowess he displayed in Living in Oblivion. The Real Blonde dawdles pleasantly enough, but its satire is tinny and didactic — a series of easy jabs at the emptiness of glamour. (The blonds are mostly fake.) DiCillo creates a fashion-culture hall of mirrors and then uses it to reflect the progression of a ”normal” relationship. But the mirrors surround a void. Matthew Modine and Catherine Keener, as lovers who’ve reached an erotic ebb tide, barely connect — Modine, as a morosely self-involved actor, looks as if he’s about to strangle someone — and the movie, an attack on superficiality, never quite makes it out of the shallow end. C+