She Hate Me (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/09/2004

One out of Five stars
Running time: 138 mins

Spike Lee’s latest film doesn’t quite know what it wants to be, with the overall result that the drama ruins the comedy and vice versa.

For a while there it really looked as if Spike Lee had his mojo back. After a run of underperforming stinkers such as Girl 6, He Got Game and Get On The Bus, he produced Summer of Sam (the best film Scorsese never made), Bamboozled (a weird, controversial, in-your-face film that just might be his best film to date) and last year’s 25th Hour, a well-acted drama that was one of the first films to address a post 9/11 New York.

Failure As Comedy Or Drama

Unfortunately, She Hate Me (terrible title, terrible film) is one of his worst films – despite its obviously good intentions it fails as both comedy and drama.

Anthony Mackie stars as Jack Armstrong, a high-powered black executive at a biotech firm, who blows the whistle on his company’s illegal practices after the suicide of his German colleague (David Bennent). Scapegoated by his company and with his assets frozen, he receives a not entirely unwelcome offer from his lesbian ex-girlfriend Fatima (Kerry Washington) and her lover – they want him to impregnate them. (They refuse a sperm bank because, as Washington says, “That would be like shopping for Gucci at Wal-Mart”).

Washington quickly realises she could be on to a winner and soon Jack is knocking up lesbians all over the shop, for the princely sum of £10,000 a pop.

Lee has assembled an impressive cast that includes Ellen Barkin (as his boss and ex-lover), Woody Harrelson (as the company director), Monica Bellucci (as a mafia daughter and one of Jack’s lesbian clients) and John Turturro in an amusing cameo as a Godfather-obsessed Mafia don, despite the fact that even with a grey wig he’s clearly still too young to be Bellucci’s father.

The problem is that none of them are given enough to do, even though the film picks up considerably whenever any of them are on screen.

Two Movies Clumsily Stitched Together

The whistle-blowing side to the story is clearly Lee’s reaction to the Enron scandal and, as such, his heart is clearly in the right place. It’s a shame, then, that he couldn’t have come up with a decent political thriller on that subject as that side of the story gets more or less sidelined until the courtroom scenes at the end where his extra-curricular activities threaten to prejudice his trial.

As for the comedy side, it seems both pointless and dull, though at least Lee doesn’t present Jack as actually ‘turning’ any of his clients. There are a couple of good scenes, notably a bravura montage of Jack having sex with his first six clients, but there are also some horribly misjudged bits, for example: Jamel Debbouze as Jack’s “comedy” doorman and the appalling animated sections that show Jack’s sperm army hitting their targets.

In short, She Hate Me is a disappointing film that seems like two different movies clumsily stitched together, with the result that the drama isn’t gripping or engaging and the comedy isn’t funny. In addition, the film clocks in at an arse-numbing two hours and twenty minutes, which is a good fifty minutes too long. Avoid.

Film Trailer

She Hate Me (15)
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Content updated: 21/10/2017 15:04

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