review for She Hate Me on AllMovie

She Hate Me (2004)
by Derek Armstrong review

Following Mo' Better Blues and He Got Game in Spike Lee's string of Ebonics-themed titles, She Hate Me is an unwieldy mess of a movie that, at the time of its release, was the director's worst-received film. It starts out promisingly enough. The bracing opening 20 minutes include a violent suicide, corporate malfeasance, and the beginnings of an ethical quandary about whistle-blowing. What a red herring. From this point, the film shifts abruptly into a broad and uncomfortable comedy, in which a blackballed executive begins impregnating New York's entire lesbian community, represented through a rainbow of ugly stereotypes. Mashed in with all this is a jumbled criticism of Republicans, namely Nixon circa the Watergate scandal, and what Lee thinks are illuminating dialogues about homosexuality and surrogate parenting, which actually feature some of his most ham-fisted writing. The over-stretching may be trademark Lee, but the total lack of perceptiveness is not. Nor are the miniature faces of star Anthony Mackie affixed to the heads of sperm swimming through these lesbians' Fallopian tubes, a visual gag better fitting a film like Look Who's Talking than one directed by a giant of his generation. As bizarre as it sometimes is, She Hate Me is also dispiritingly conventional -- it closes with a hackneyed courtroom scene complete with 11th hour vindicating evidence and a righteous speech. But the film's worst blunders are reserved for its casting, and not just Woody Harrelson playing the Saturday Night Live version of a crooked CEO. Lee indulges his nearly pathological need to cast John Turturro, but offers no better fit than the Mafia boss father of the character played by Monica Bellucci -- an actress only seven years his junior.