Friday, October 09, 2015

Movie review - "Pret a Porte" (1994) **

Much publicised at the time during production - you had Robert Altman making like his 27th comeback after the success of The Player and Short Cuts, an all star cast including some genuine stars (Julia Roberts) and icons (Sophia Loren), the setting in the world of fashion, which in the early 90s was huge (in a time where there weren't many female stars, the supermodels filled the tabloid void), including many cameos of famous designers, artists and models.

But it's not a very good movie. I wish Altman had gotten a top writer to do the script instead of getting his own grubby hands on it. There are some bright lines, and one or two memorable moments but too much of it seems crap - literally there's a painfully unfunny recurring gag about people stepping on dog crap, plus plot lines and moments cribbed from Nashville (a greek Chorus reporter, a womanising star who has three women panting over him), MASH (Sally Kellerman humiliated while nude).

Some good moments: I liked the vignette of Julia Roberts and Tim Robbins holed up in a hotel room, having an affair which she over-invests in, and reporting the news by copying from the TV; there are some funny scenes, such as two adulterous couples cheating at the same time and the same location, and the reveal of Danny Aiello in a dress; there is plenty of colour and movement, including music and clothes, and the finale of the all naked models is a good way to wrap it up.

But so much of it is tired: the dog crap gag, Marcello Mastroianni running around and hamming it up in sunglasses, that smug pregnant model walking around (she pays off at the end by walking naked but it's not much of a pay off).

There's also so little drama: we think Sophia Loren's husband was murdered (which would have given the film some weight) but it turns out he just choked to death; Mastroianni goes to seduce Loren but can't go through with it; Aiello is a cross dresser and Lily Taylor takes photos of him and he's upset and.... that's it; Rupert Everett has an affair and gets busted and that's it; Lauren Bacall does nothing.I think Nashville is over-rated but at least it has some heavier stuff going on - Keenan Wynn's wife dying, the assignation, Ronnee Blakely having a breakdown.

An indulgent movie, mainly for completist fans of the director and it's cast, and/or 90s fashion.

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