The Hottie And The Nottie

The Hottie And The Nottie


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Women, we are told, come in pairs. For every hottie there is also a nottie, "like a dragon guarding the beautiful maiden". This is the philosophy of hero Nate's comedy fat best friend, who, if he's an equivalent monster, seems to have been short-changed. Nate applies it to Cristabelle, the girl he's adored since primary school, and her best friend June. To win his beautiful maiden, he must first assuage the dragon.

This approach might make sense if we approach the film as a version of reality distorted by Nate's imagination. He's just emerged from an abusive relationship (which the film seems to think was funny), so maybe he took one knock on the head too many. The trouble is that his delusions are still pretty difficult to identify with.

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June is given every cheap affliction the scriptwriters could think of - a mole, a skin disease, an infected toe, thinning hair, bad teeth - but it's still hard to believe that no one would like her, as she's very personable, has beautiful eyes, is slim and shapely, and really isn't doing too badly compared to many people in the real world.

Cristabelle, on the other hand, is worshipped by the camera, dressed as skimpily as possible, and given every advantage which modern technology can lend to glamour, but this can't make up for the fact that she's played by Paris Hilton, whose weird anorexic shoulders, little squinty eyes and lack of chin make her not quite as hot as she (also the executive producer) evidently thinks she is. She acts as if she just had smack for breakfast and evinces so little personality that it's impossible to decipher the reason why so many people seem to worship her. It's not that she's unattractive, simply that there are any number of other people around who are at least as attractive, and most of them are orders of magnitude more interesting.

To an extent, this works for the film, in that Nate's attempts to impress Cristabelle by befriending June lead to the development of a real, accidental friendship with a much more compelling storyline. As June, Christine Lakin gives what is by far the strongest performance, though she lacks the support to make it a breakthrough role. Her gradual transformation into someone more closely approaching Hollywood standards of beauty might, again, be reasonable if interpreted as Nate's realisation of her charm, but on another level it's simply depressing - the film has pretensions to proclaiming that everyone should be loved for who they are, yet June isn't allowed to remain who she is.

Not only her appearance but her beliefs are forced to change. She has to give up her veganism and buy into the beauty salon lifestyle. She has to be grateful, one way or another, for others' charity. In acknowledgement of this, we're supposed to see how wonderful Cristabelle is for deigning to have her as a friend. The whole film revolves around people trying to win Cristabelle's favour. It's the sort of movie a rich father might make for his spoiled little 'princess'' 16th - the sort of thing any adult ought to be duly embarrassed by.

Essentially a by-the-numbers romantic comedy with indie pretensions which are doomed from the start, The Hottie And The Nottie has a weak script, weaker performances, hardly any story, a cliched soundtrack and a vastly overinflated sense of its own importance. It's not so much lightweight as vacuous. There are worse films out there, for sure, but that's still no reason to waste time on this one.

Reviewed on: 20 Mar 2008
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To win the heart of the woman he's had a crush on since primary school, a habitual loser must impress her ugly best friend.
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Director: Tom Putnam

Writer: Heidi Ferrer

Starring: Paris Hilton, Joel Moore, Christine Lakin, Adam Kulbersh, The Greg Wilson, Johann Urb

Year: 2008

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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