The Hottie and the Nottie
The Hottie and the Nottie is an unholy meeting of commerce and art, with entrepreneur Paris Hilton making the calls. An early Razzie contender for 2008.
Hilton plays Hottie Cristabel, a woman with few personality traits other than that she is beautiful and irrationally loyal to her ugly friend, Nottie June (Christine Lakin). Cristabel is two-for-two in the looks/personality department--and she's the object of affection of a helplessly clumsy schlub, Nate (Joel David Moore). After an unhealthy two decade-plus crush on Cristabel, Nate uproots and moves to L.A. to pursue her, only to be diverted by Cristabel with a distracting rule: June needs a boyfriend. Cristabel may just be blowing Nate off, but he goes with it, and in a Queer Eye moment, he gives June a make-over. Of course, he ends up embracing the inner beauty of The Nottie, while Cristabel falls into the arms of a 12-packed European model, Johann (Johann Urb). He looks like many of Hilton's real-life arm candy.
All eyes are on Hilton, to see how (if at all) she's matured as an actress since her big screen debut in 2005's remake House of Wax. Not much, folks. It's as though she intentionally seeks ultra-campy roles. Hilton is simply a media creation, a self-aware businessperson masquerading as an actress. Solid, workman comedy actors Lakin (Mean Girls) and Moore (Grandma's Boy), who have cut their teeth in numerous industry productions, support Paris as best they can. Lakin dons an impressive array of make-up techniques, including thinning hair, moles, facial hairs, bad teeth--modeled after what some have called the Geico caveman. She plays it well, though her appearance, frankly, isn't funny; her comic timing is and compensates when the disaster could be even worse.
Director Tom Putnam, a USC film grad, attempts his first feature film with The Hottie and the Nottie. While fluidity is constant and the movie feels like a familiar romantic comedy, á la 1980s John Hughes, there is an underlying crassness that tries to push boundaries, robbing the film of its likeability. To see this movie is a packed theater is similar to watching an amateur stand-up comedian bomb onstage, group discomfort and all. The comic concept of a ''Nottie'' looking like a half-Aborigine freak is a bizarrely pitched joke, and the laughs are lazy. Sets and costumes are like a parallel universe of reality, where clothes, video games, and interiors are stuck in the '70s, '80s, and 90s. The ultimate compliment to Putnam's voice, no doubt, is producer Paris Hilton, who is known to be hands-on with her projects. We can only guess what she said. Here's a clue. One of her lines of dialogue is, ''A lifetime without orgasms is like a world without flowers.''
Hollywood.com rated this film 1 star.