Beautiful Girls, written by Scott Rosenberg
If only for the fantastic cast, this film would be worth watching, but if we add that the narrative is interesting- not outstanding though – then you might consider this as a pleasant entertainment.
“the best date movie of the 90’s!” this is on the movie poster, a quote from American Movie Classics, but others would surely state that it is a definite exaggeration, especially given some flaws, like the unaccomplished, artificial, somewhat infatuated acting of Timothy Hutton, whose character, Willie Conway may anyway entertain inappropriate thoughts concerning Marty aka Natalie Portman, his thirteen year old neighbor.
Knights Ridge, Massachusetts is the small town where friends have various experiences, conflicts, disappointments and affairs that form the subject of this motion picture, a romantic comedy with some flares of violence, moral issues, and thoughts about meaning and existential doubts thrown into the mixture.
Matt Dillon – a very talented actor – is Tommy Birdman Rowland, a young man who has a relationship with Sharon Cassidy aka Mira Sorvino, but is also sleeping on the side with Darian Smalls – this where one would have different points of view, in the light of the MeToo movement and the recent scandals.
One take on what happens between lovers is that Birdman is a chauvinist male – pig may not enter into this game – who sees women as trophies – maybe most of the time or just sometimes – and it is his fault entirely – or is it just almost 100%?
The other perspective would present as evidence scenes like the one in the car, where the man – granted, he may be bored, this could be the exception to the rule – does not want to have sex with the married woman, at least not anymore, but she insists.
Furthermore, it could also be stated, if not exactly in his defense, that the character pays for his philandering with days in the hospital, after the aggrieved husband confronts him and when he does not get the upper hand alone, in a cowardly, despicable move he brings friends that beat and wound the bachelor seriously.
When the friends of the hospitalized Tommy Rowland gather a vengeful party for Payback, they arrive at the house of the cheated spouse, while his allies are coming; Willie Conway drives the snowplough into their car, severely damaging it.
Just as Jealous Smalls is about to see the ground, after many fists would have hit his face, stomach and other parts of the body, his daughter, who is about five, shows at the window asking when will her father come back into the house, making the would be aggressors abandon their fierce vengeance.
Willie Conway talks frequently with the smart, thirteen year old Marty, contemplating a scenario wherein he would wait for her – he would be forty-nine when she reaches the age of twenty-three and this could be seen as idealistic, idle talk or as a condemnable hypothesis and not the positive psychology rule of happiness:
Imagine the Best Possible Self or/and The Best Possible Future
At the local bar, the resplendent Uma Thurman as Andera enters the stage, making the friends exult, Willie to perform at the piano, Paul Kirkwood to ask her out on false pretenses, claiming they are all going to meet at the place where he has other plans.
Paul is separated from his ex- girlfriend, who is a vegetarian that in a strange way is now living with a…butcher, a fact that horrifies her ex-companion who speaks about the smell of bacon and how vegetarians should run away from that at all costs.
He wants to make this girl jealous, by showing off his false date with Andera, who catches early on that there is something wrong, forces her pretend partner to confess and then acts on the game, dancing luridly with him, making outlandish moves and then walking out.
Rosie O’Donnell as Gina Barrisano has some very interesting lines, perhaps funny and revealing for the 90s, but very probably under fire if tried in a new film in 2018, for she says that the models in the men’s magazines are false, it is either fat (or large) and with impressive breasts, or thin and with nothing to show for bosoms.
Gina claims that the women photographed in Playboy and similar magazines do not exist, me should stop thinking, fantasizing about them, because this would be detrimental for them and all others concerned…words to that effect, if memory does not play a farce here.
At the superficial level, we have a series of events, some of which are comical, cause for merriment, others are dramatic, but they all seem to cause some introspection, which could ultimately benefit the protagonists.
Willie Conway talks to his underage – intellectual interest Insha’Allah – friend and states that they may see each other when she is eighteen, as she suggests, but in the meantime she would have forgotten about him, given the transformations that she would go thorough – a wise attitude, considering he travels to New York with his – Alhamdulillah – adult girlfriend.
After taking a severe beating, facing time in bed, Tommy Rowland may see better the meaning of life, the paramount importance of his friendship with Sharon and all the others involved may be more mature, smarter, resilient and prepared after the experiences they go through.