So Far, So-So

I didn’t have especially high hopes for Fast Sofa (2001) when I plucked it from the bargain bin… despite the stellar cast, this movie is so undistinguished that it doesn’t even warrant a perfunctory Wikipedia page, and the first professional review I found began with the punny warning “Fast Sofa is slow torture”! (Variety) I found it fairly entertaining overall, but the fact that I already had a fanboy crush on most of the main cast probably helped…

Jennifer Tilly as ‘Ginger Quail’ in “Fast Sofa”Reading the plot description on the back of the case might lead one to assume that the story followed a long-haired, L.A. loser named ‘Rick’ on a rather un-heroic quest to seduce the object of his lusty obsessions (a popular porn star named ‘Ginger Quail’ who’s filming her latest opus in a neighbouring city), and that he’d meet the other characters along the way to an uncertain climax (ho ho). In fact he “beds” Ginger in the first twenty minutes of the film, when she happens to walk into his regular bar and fall for his toothy “charms”… then after they’ve done the dirty deed against the side of a parked car (so glamorous!), she invites him to meet up with her in Palm Springs for seconds. So there isn’t really much dramatic tension there, even if you do sympathise with the dopey, douchey protagonist enough to care whether he gets laid again or not. To his credit (?), Rick does inform his long-term girlfriend ‘Tamara’ about the sleazy liaison, as soon as he sees her the next morning… but, for some strange reason, she finds his cheerful confession rather upsetting, and tosses him out of her apartment! Chicks, huh? Tamara seeks solace in the arms of Rick’s hunky best-friend, and seeing them kissing on the sly spurs Rick on to keep his dirty date with Ginger. But, again, that reunion comes about half way through the movie, rather than at the conclusion, so it isn’t really about that either… and we never find out what happened to Tamara once her ex left town… and while he’s on the road Rick finds himself playing big brother to an unworldly ornithology nerd, who has his own weird little revenge plot to play out. Apparently this movie was adapted from a “best-selling” novel, which may explain why there are so many loose threads, and why it all seems so messy. I assume it made a lot more sense on the page?

Natasha Lyonne as ‘Tamara Jenson’ in “Fast Sofa”Actually, I’m sure the whole thing would have been pretty painful if it weren’t for the actors involved: ‘Ginger’ is played by Jennifer Tilly, who I’ve had a HUGE crush on for years… and I can’t help feeling a little sorry for her here. Academy Award nominees as talented and funny and charming and cute as her shouldn’t have to wear bridles and bare their boobs in low-budget indie flicks like this one, dammit! Considering the roles she’s usually cast in, I can’t help thinking that her distinctive voice and voluptuous figure may have impeded her career a little… she’s clearly no dummy in real life, but she seems to play a disproportionate number of air-heads and “ladies of ill-repute” in the movies. I think her self-deprecating turn in Seed of Chucky proved that she had a healthy sense of humour about her public image, but I’m still disappointed that she hasn’t landed a regular, well-paying gig that’s worthy of her all-around awesomeness. Gah! She does some good work with the material she’s given here, and brings a lot more humour to the role than many lesser actresses could… but frankly, it’s beneath her. Meanwhile, Tamara is played by Natasha Lyonne, who gets a couple of good scenes as Rick’s outraged girlfriend… but why any man would want to cheat on a woman as pretty as her is beyond me. Luckily his pal has more sense, and swoops in to rescue her when the bombshell drops. Since the “white knight” in question is played by Adam Goldberg, I kinda wish the movie had been about the two of them, rather than the Rick character. They’re such a sweet, supportive pair… and I’m sure there’s still a pretty decent movie to be made about a couple who break up over one partner’s infidelity with a celebrity obsession. Hmmm. Oh, and the aforementioned “ornithology nerd” is played by Crispin Glover, who works his usual, freaky magic… and it’s almost worth watching the movie for his performance alone! There’s one scene where his character starts reading an erotic story from a porn mag aloud, with unfamiliar, alien inflections, and it set me wondering what an entire “audio book” of such stories would sound like… kinda creepy, I imagine… but would it be creepier than the one where he reads from books about rat-catching?

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About deecrowseer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action.
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