They call it the “bargain bin,” the big basket of discount DVDs of questionable quality. We assume that the paltry $5 price tag still gives these films too much credit. Is there anything of use in these wire crates worth the implied value in the word “bargain”? One man braves the bin to find out.
Good Christ almighty, what have I stumbled upon? How could I have known–truly known––that the hour and a half of so-called “content” on this DVD was a vile, wretched monster born of my worst nightmares? I suppose I could have looked it up on IMDB, but that’s cheating. When I snagged this from a Walgreen’s bargain bin at three in the morning, I knew (as any rational person might) that this would be awful. Little did I know that I was paying $3.99 plus tax for the single most offensive, unfunny, lazy piece of trash ever put to plastic. I am not sure the English language has the capacity to encapsulate the vitriol and hatred I have for The Hottie & the Nottie, but by gum, let’s give it a shot.
Our little adventure begins with an introduction to our protagonist, Nate, played by Joel Moore (widely known for his role as “that guy” in “that one show”). He’s playing a song he wrote for his pissed-off girlfriend to his pissed-off girlfriend, who proceeds to smash the guitar over his head, wonder how he managed to miss the part where she dumped him and spray-painted “LOSER” on his car, and then runs him over while making her escape. She needs someone who will love her, which apparently he doesn’t. I considered felony hit and run and assault with a deadly weapon to be a bit of an overreaction on her part. It isn’t. It’s the best part of this movie, because someone almost murders the main character.
Nate, despondent and alone (as he rightly deserves to be), realizes that the reason he can’t develop a meaningful and loving relationship with a woman is because he never got over his first grade crush, who he had to move away from in his youth for reasons not really elaborated on. So he calls up his first grade buddy in Los Angeles out of the blue to try and track down the love of his life.
Everything that happens in this movie is tied into things that happened in first grade. I don’t even remember first grade. Do you? Let me know if you do, and if that is something common. Everything before discovering girls and masturbation is pretty much a complete blur for me anymore.
In any case, his buddy Arno (played by some guy you’ve never seen before and will never see again) is a fat, bumbling idiot who lives with his mother and keeps a detailed file on Cristabel, his old sweetheart, who apparently is the hottest thing in LA. Her daily routine is well-documented and she is known to have at least 6 stalkers (that we know about). And even better! She’s single. But how, you aren’t even vaguely inclined to ask, can this be? There’s a catch, right? Some compelling twist that explains why the hottest thing in LA is single?
Well, you’ve seen the cover, so you can guess what comes next: Cristabel has taken a vow of celibacy until her roommate/BFF since first grade, June Phigg (Christine Lakin, who you’ve probably never seen before but who is bite-your-lip hot in real life, if you didn’t already know where this movie was headed) finds a man who will love her. No big deal, right? How hard could it be?
Oh, for Christ’s sake, really? Yes, June is ugly. They spend an incredible amount of time and energy establishing that she’s not just run-of-the-mill, “you’ll never make it in this business” unattractive. She’s got hairy everything, infections of her finger- and toenails, and the most vile set of teeth this side of Austin Powers (remember him?) Men recoil in terror at the sight of her–no, I mean it. Men literally recoil in terror at the sight of this woman. I’ve been to LA several times and hate it with every bone in my body, but never in my wildest dreams could I imagine the spectacle of disgust and anguish that surrounds this girl, even in LA.
Back to our “story.” Nate, not realizing the gravity of the situation, decides to hunt down Cristabel and take his best shot. Cristabel takes a run along the beach every morning, so Nate rolls down there to catch a glimpse of his long-lost love. What follows is exactly what you’d expect, because this is a Paris Hilton movie: an incredibly tedious series of shots of Hilton running down the sidewalk. Men stumble over one another, a married man has to be dragged back into line by his wife, lest he abandon his stroller-bound toddler, a volleyball game at least 50′ away comes to a screeching halt, and her stable of stalkers with “marry me” signs (one of whom is an albino, because albinism is funny and albinos are inherently creepy, lonely, lecherous stalkers) whimpers and mutters incoherently on their predesignated benches.
So what’s a man to do when he’s in love with, like, the most popular girl in LA? Run up behind her and tackle her like Lawrence Taylor, of course! She assumes that he must have just tripped over her out of absolutely nowhere, despite coming at her from her rear right flank with force, his arms wrapped just like they teach you in day one of Pop Warner football practice. She keeps running as if nothing ever happened, but Nate isn’t going to let her get away, no sir! He jogs with her and introduces himself as a kid from first grade, and Cristabel tries to place him by listing off a litany of boys from first grade, and by name.
Look. My day job is working with troubled youth–and by troubled, I mean kids with severe mental disabilities, or the criminally violent–often both. These are teenagers who have serious problems: severe abandonment issues, the emotional maturity of infants, clinically diagnosed with everything from major depression to paranoid schizophrenia, the whole nine. The arrested development demonstrated in The Hottie & the Nottie is worse than anything I’ve ever seen at my job.
They sit down for food and drink at a local sandbar and catch up. They hit it off despite having less chemistry than their first grade science class. Nate idiotically claims to be a personal trainer, so Cristabel invites him to her yoga class. She writes her number on his hand and blows the ink dry–a slow motion, downward angle shot specifically designed to gratuitously give us a blurry gander at Hilton’s cleavage.
Pictured above: Paris Hilton. Now, personally, I do find her attractive. The problem here is that I find Paris Hilton about as attractive as any woman I might meet in a bar somewhere. She’s not a supermodel or really anything to write home about. She is famous for being, as David Cross once put it, a “rich, giggling cunt.” I can see her cleavage anytime, anywhere that I want. I can only speculate that these gratuitous, preening vanity shots were contractual obligations, a demand Hilton and her team of cronies were exacting and insistent on.
The first sequence featuring Hilton is expected, and fits nicely into the formula that this movie is obviously following by the letter: attractive woman is attractive, okay, I can understand the need to establish that this woman is supposed to be way out of Nate’s league. This makes him into an everyman, an underdog we can root for. However, when Aphrodite does everything she can to demonstrate that she will take someone–anyone–it takes all the tension out of things. These shots of Cristabel basically being Paris–a vapid, writhing ball of eros who will bump uglies with anything swinging, given the chance–deflate any sense of challenge.
Of course, this challenge is mitigated by June, who we finally meet at the yoga studio. She wears unflattering clothes, hair springs from the massive mole on her chin like fungus growing from a mound of cow crap, etc. They have gone out of their way to make this woman as ugly as is humanly possible. In a movie filled with offensive, banal set pieces and plot points, this is easily the biggest, and will be discussed in due time.