She Hate Me
As a filmmaker, Spike Lee likes to challenge people and put his opinion squarely into his movies. He is one of the most vocal directors in putting messages in his movies. Although lately, Lee (25th Hour, Bamboozled) has been all over the place, nobody can argue that he isn't as fervent as ever. She Hate Me finds him as opinionated as ever, but he tries to cram too much into an already sprawling movie. The result is a jumbled mess, with too many voices crowding for attention, and instead of one dominant one emerging, all of them are lost in the confusion. Worse is that many attempts at satire fall flat, and some of the stereotyping that Lee incorporates is just plain offensive.
Lee starts with a meditation on corporate greed. Jack Armstrong (Anthony Mackie, Hollywood Homicide, 8 Mile) is a Vice President for a large biotech corporation readying a new product for the market. One of the chief doctors behind the drug just committed suicide, and there are some questions about the safety. So when Armstrong stumbles upon some coworkers shredding documents, he becomes very scared. His bosses, Margo Chadwick (Ellen Barkin, Someone Like You, Mercy) and owner Leland Powell (Woody Harrelson, Anger Management, Scorched) fire him, freeze his assets, and prevent him from being hired at rival companies, effectively putting him in limbo.
Enter Fatima Goodrich (Kerry Washington, Against the Ropes, The Human Stain), Armstrong's ex. Goodrich and her partner Alex Guerrero (Dania Ramirez) want a baby, and see Armstrong as the solution. He's handsome, strong, and smart, and they would rather go with something they know than some anonymous donor. It works well and Goodrich gets pregnant, so she decides to bring in other lesbians for Armstrong's services. Each time somebody gets pregnant he gets $10,000, which is great considering he has zero cash flow. She Hate Me meanders even more as one of the women (Monica Bellucci, The Passion of the Christ, The Matrix Revolutions) who wants his services is the daughter of a mob boss (John Turturro, Secret Window, Anger Management). Then, Armstrong's corporate life circles back on him as he becomes involved in a whistleblower suit against his company, and the stories converge.
Lee wrote the screenplay with Michael Genet, and this is where all the problems in She Hate Me stem from. First, the portrayal of lesbian is pretty offensive. Why would all these women want a man to impregnate them the natural way? Haven't any of them ever heard of artificial insemination? Lee isn't playing with stereotypes here, he's just providing She Hate Me ample opportunity for some failed comedic moments at Mackie's expense. This is a huge role for Mackie, who is usually in much smaller parts, and he acquits himself as well as he can, given the script. It is just too long and too uninteresting to maintain interest in. There are three movies here, smashed into one, after all the good parts have been removed. The corporate greed angle is underplayed, and the court scene at the end is just too random, and feels more like an opportunity to have some guest stars appear. Although there is a lot of opportunity for substance, Lee bypasses all of it and fills She Hate Me with a lot of nothing
|Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.|
|2 hours, 18 minutes, Rated R for graphic sexuality/nudity, language, and a scene of violence.|
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