Oh, how easy it would be to write a nasty slag-off of Blonde Ambition, the Jessica Simpson romantic comedy that opened in a few theaters in Simpson’s native Texas in December, made $6,422, and has already arrived on DVD. The tale of Katie — a naive country gal who moves to Manhattan, becomes embroiled in office politics, and falls in love with Luke Wilson — Blonde is a mirthless mash-up of the 1988 movie Working Girl and TV’s Ugly Betty (Simpson’s candy red lipstick and orangey makeup are truly ugh-ly).
Victims in this enterprise include Wilson, who looks understandably baffled throughout, and costars Penelope Ann Miller and Andy Dick as frantically unfunny partners in office maliciousness. Willie Nelson plays Simpson’s grandfather; rather than dwell on the Dukes of Hazzard duo’s reteaming, I’ll use this space to plug two good movies: Go rent Thief (1981) or Barbarosa (1982) to watch solid Nelson performances.
Anyhow, two things prevent me from being haughtily dismissive. First, there’s Larry Miller, who, as Katie’s boss, is truly funny. A fine comic actor, Miller deserves a director like Preston Sturges, not Blonde‘s Scott Marshall, son of Garry and nephew of Penny; the latter makes a cameo here. Second, there’s a making-of featurette in which Simpson says she hopes this movie will ”shift” focus away from ”the whole tabloid world of my life” and prove her talent. I feel badly for this young woman. D+