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Lindy Keffer

Movie Review

Art restoration specialist Amanda Pierce has never made good decisions about men. So after coming home to one more disaster (she finds her live-in boyfriend in bed with a model), she swears off them altogether. Since her new resolve leaves her homeless, she goes apartment shopping. She ends up with a plush deal on an East Manhattan apartment. The only catch is, she’ll have to adapt to four new roommates—and they’re all models.

Still in her male-phobia phase, Amanda doesn’t mean to discover that Jim Watkins lives in a nearby apartment. Or that from her window she can see everything going on in his living room. To protect her heart, she tries to find fault with him, but he defies her every attempt. And she can’t hide the fact that she goes weak in the knees (literally) whenever they come face to face.

Just about the time she’s beginning to think he really is Mr. Perfect, certain things she sees while window peeping make her wonder if he might be a criminal instead. Amanda’s roommates don’t know what to make of the situation, so they go on a bizarre campaign that fluctuates between trying to expose Jim as a murderer and trying to set him up with Amanda. Their adventure lands them all on the runway for a fashion show to remember, complete with international crime bosses, stolen jewels and, of course, true love.

positive elements: This spoof on the modeling industry exposes the cattiness and falsity of life in a sell-yourself career. In contrast, Amanda’s art teaches her that “some of the greatest faces aren’t really symmetrical. The beauty is often in the flaws.”

Besides physical attraction, the romance between Amanda and Jim is based on things that are actually important—thoughtfulness, respectability and common interests. This sincerity is showcased when Jim asks, “Do you believe in love at first sight?” and Amanda answers, “No. It’s too easy. I believe in taking a deeper look.” And that sentiment is played out: He’s attracted to her because she’s more real than the other women he deals with as a fashion industry exec. More than just a passing whim, he’s truly affected by her, and it begins to show in his priorities. She, on the other hand, finally makes a wise decision about men and refuses to be with him until he’s totally honest with her about his “covert operations.” Unfortunately …

sexual content: That sweet line is spoken in bed, just before the couple’s first sexual encounter. And that’s only the beginning. Amanda’s forgotten to pull Jim’s shades, so her roommates line up at their window to watch the show. And of course, they have to discuss it with her afterward. Amanda’s history of bad relationship decisions apparently includes serial cohabitation (“That’s what I always do. I’d have coffee with him. Then I’d move in”). And her roommates have each torn through a long string of men, only without Amanda’s remorse.

Modeling is portrayed as just one step up from prostitution: the beautiful women call the shots, but the men still pay big bucks. The girls show no shame at having a “waiting list” of ogling men lining up to take them out every night. They all know how to showcase their “wares,” and they even teach Amanda a few tricks of the trade, including using seduction to bribe a security guard (who just happens to have a cross-dressing fetish).

The scene in which Amanda discovers her boyfriend’s unfaithfulness doesn’t reveal more than the naked girl’s back. Still, the cheating couple’s sexual position is explicit. Add to that Lisa, the lesbian coworker who loves to check out “the goods” whenever Amanda’s roommates are around (In one scene, she lies next to Amanda and puts her hand on Amanda’s breast). A handful of gay jokes, one gay kiss, sexual slang, skimpy clothing, a sizeable heap of innuendo and a rutting dog named Hamlet round out this movie’s line of “fashionable” sexuality.

spiritual content: None, unless you count Jim cooing, “I’m starting a new religion. It’s called Amanda-ism. Basically it’s me worshipping you.”

violent content: Amanda falls down the steps outside Jim’s apartment and is repeatedly knocked over by a neighbor’s dog. In a staged “murder,” we see the silhouette of a girl being hit over the head. And just so it’s not too girly a movie, there has to be a good-guys-versus-bad-guys fight scene. This one starts with Jim pinning a couple of guys to a wall with knives (he skewers only their clothes). Punches are thrown, shots are fired at an escaping car, then the bad guys chase the models through a backstage area and onto the runway, where the whole thing ends in a brawl—complete with flying high-heels.

crude or profane language: About 10 mild profanities, two or three s-words and 25 or more misuses of God’s name.

drug and alcohol content: Amanda’s roommates pride themselves on being “the last four non-smoking models on the whole island of Manhattan.” Roxana takes a jab at the heroin-addict look some models strive for, but doesn’t really end up making any kind of strong statement against it. Alcohol is served at fashion industry parties and restaurants.

other negative elements: Two scenes find the four models hiding in a bathroom. The first time it’s Jim’s bathroom and he doesn’t know they’re there. That’s unfortunate for him—and the moviegoers watching him—considering the disgusting volley of bathroom noises he produces. The second time it’s a restaurant bathroom where dialogue between two plumbers falls on the far, far side of double entendre. And then the plumbing job fails and the toilet erupts all over the four women.

conclusion: After cranking out two recent films about futile and mixed-up adolescent relationships (Boys and Girls and Down to You), Freddie Prinze Jr. finally picks one where he comes off looking like a real prince. He’s tender, teachable and an all-around good guy. Unfortunately, his encounter with love is all but obliterated by a barrage of sexual content.

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Lindy Keffer