The Real Blonde (1997)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Ensemble Film, Romantic Comedy, Urban Comedy  |   Release Date - Feb 27, 1998 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 107 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Nick Sambides, Jr.

If you're not quite sure what's been resolved or what points have been made at the end of The Real Blonde, don't worry. Director Tom DiCillo's plot points are like driftwood colliding as it meanders downriver: if lives touch, it's because of chance and location, not because they compel themselves to. DiCillo's characters are usually living in opposition to their dreams. Joe (Matthew Modine) is an actor who longs for success but is so afraid of artistic compromise that he refuses several jobs. His friend Bob (Maxwell Caulfield) pines for "the perfect blonde" -- the ideal sex partner -- but is so afraid of commitment that he dumps lovely blond model Sahara (Bridgette Wilson), who loves him, for a vacuous relationship with a soap opera star (Daryl Hannah). DiCillo has fun exploring stereotypes and seems more interested in studying the characters' situations than their motivations. The movie's short scenes are sharply observed, wryly funny, and somewhat surprising. Sahara and Tina (Elizabeth Berkley) may seem shallow, but Wilson makes her heartbreak poignant and Berkley gives Tina a "little girl lost" appeal. Berkley also displays a deft comic touch that shows how unfair the whole Showgirls debacle really was. DiCillo gives prominent feminist Marlo Thomas a showy role as a fashion photographer whose work Thomas would probably detest in real life, then he shows how artistic fashion photography can be. Such twists and turns give the movie a mature, sophisticated sensibility that would have been lost with a more linear plot progression. Though seemingly unfocused, DiCillo's approach turns a meandering trip downriver into a satisfying journey.