DIRTY LOVE (2005)
Starring Jenny McCarthy, Eddie Kaye Thomas, Carmen Electra, Kam Heskin, Victor Webster, Lochlyn Munro, Kathy Griffith, Jessica Collins, David O’Donnell, Deryck Whibley, Drea DeMatteo, Guillermo Diaz, Judith Benezra, David Zappone, Elena Lyons, Noah Harpster, Ingrid Rogers and Sum 41.
Screenplay by Jenny McCarthy.
Directed by John Asher.
Distributed by First Look Films. minutes. Rated R.
Back in her MTV heyday about a decade ago, Jenny McCarthy was unique as a Playboy-beautiful woman with a totally goofy sense of humor and the ability to tell fart jokes. (It’s a dirty job, but someone had to do it.) Let’s face it, most guys watched her old series Singled Out because it was a hoot to see a former centerfold acting like a twelve-year-old boy.
Sadly, McCarthy’s career never hit the heights that it looked like it would make in those days – she kept bumping up against (figuratively and literally) fellow former playmates Pam Anderson and occasionally Anna Nicole Smith. The sad thing is that McCarthy was the most talented of that triumvirate (and frankly the sexiest too). She was also the funniest of the three – at least on purpose, Anna Nicole occasionally gave her a run for her money without even meaning to.
However, McCarthy’s projects always seemed to stall; an MTV variety series received critical raves but little in the way of audience love, and NBC sitcom also got reasonable reviews but stumbled through a low-rated season on the air. Eventually she was spit out of the Hollywood machine, making a living doing made-for-video movies, small cameos in slightly bigger films (like Scream 3, BASEketball and Scary Movie 3) and occasionally guest starring as slutty bitches on sitcoms like Just Shoot Me!, The Drew Carey Show and Hope & Faith.
Therefore, it is really rather amazing that she received the opportunity to star in this film. Even more of a surprise is that she wrote the screenplay.
Dirty Love is a good showcase for McCarthy – both her strengths and her weaknesses. On the plus side, she is naturally likable and charming. On the negative side, her cute little tics can overwhelm her (and the audience). It looks like because she was the star, writer (and one of the producers) that no one was reining her in at all. She mugs for the camera and allows herself to look the fool so much that we sometimes lose our footing with her and our sympathy for her.
It’s too bad, because it in not a bad story idea and the film often can be rather funny. Other b-celebs like Eddie Kaye Thomas of theAmerican Pie films, Carmen Electra, Kathy Griffith and apparently Drea DeMatteo (who is listed in the press kit, but I don’t remember seeing) show up and try their best to give McCarthy a hand.
McCarthy plays Rebecca, a beautiful but completely neurotic photographer who becomes a complete basket case when she catches her runway model boyfriend in bed with another woman. She throws herself into a series of increasingly disturbing dates as a way to get back at her ex and get her mind off of the pain. Of course, she never even realizes that her dorky platonic friend (Thomas) is totally in love with her and may just be the right one.
This can be funny, though too often McCarthy goes for the cheap gross-out laughs, like a guy who has a fish fetish and a guy who throws up on her. And one scene where Becca is in a supermarket in need of a tampon is so over-the-top tasteless that even the Farrelly Brothers would be shocked by it. Yet, it is oddly kind of funny just because it is so blatantly out there.
All this is a distraction from the true meat of the story, Rebecca and her clichéd best friends (Carmen Electra as a jivin’ white girl and Kam Heskin as a dumb aspiring actress who sleeps around for roles) try to find true love, which turns out to be right in front of them. Honestly, I’d have liked for McCarthy and Thomas to have a little more of a spark between them, but no one’s perfect.
Dirty Love is not a very good movie, but it does show McCarthy to be an eccentric talent who deserves a chance to get another shot at the gold ring. (8/05)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2005 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 20, 2005.