"Campy Texas Teen Flick"
What You Need To Know:
In SLAP HER, SHE’S FRENCH, Starla Grady has it all. The most popular girl of all, she is a beauty pageant winner, the head cheerleader and girlfriend of the school’s hunky, beef-eating quarterback. Nothing could stand in the way of Starla’s quest to fulfill her life’s ambition – to become the most popular talk show host in America . . . or could it? Enter French exchange student Genevieve LePlouff and exit Starla’s perfect world! The shy Genevieve’s sad tales of misfortune and lost love soon win her sympathy from all. Professing undying admiration for Starla, Genevieve is only too happy to be at her beckon call and listen to every secret. Soon Genevieve has usurped Starla’s best friends, boyfriend, parents, cheerleading spot, and position as the most popular girl in Splendona. All seems lost until some unlikely supporters help Starla, teaming up to expose Genevieve as the conniving, backstabbing liar that she is.
This movie pokes fun at Texas in a big way, but some of the acting is good, and the lessons in avoiding the “velvet hammer” ways of girls are impacting. There is too much foul language to wade through for the payoff, however
(H, Pa, Ho, B, Ab, PCPC, AcapAcap, LLL, V, S, AA, DD, MM) Mild humanist worldview with pagan elements and one homosexual allusion, where man’s mind and selfish ambition rule, with slight biblical elements with one honest prayer to God, but an anti-biblical moment with the protagonist using God’s name only to win her pageant as well as many politically-correct, anti-Texas, anti-beef, anti-meat, anti-wealth sardonic depictions; 35 obscenities, mostly mild; mild violence with two “girl fights”; one homosexual allusion and teenager flirts with teacher; no nudity; numerous references to alcohol; smoking and portrayal of drugs such as hallucinogenic mushrooms in shake; and, lying, stealing, betrayal, and disrespectfulness to authority.
Starla Grady (Jane McGregor) has it all. The most popular girl at Splendona High School in Texas, she is a beauty pageant winner, the head cheerleader and girlfriend of the school’s hunky, beef-eating quarterback. Nothing could stand in the way of Starla’s quest to fulfill her life’s ambition: to become the most popular morning talk show host in America. Or could it? Enter Genevieve LePlouff (Piper Perabo) and exit Starla’s perfect world!
Because she’s failing Monsieur Duke’s French class, Starla’s parents suggest hosting a French exchange student to help her. Starla is reluctant, however, until she realizes that her magnanimous gesture would garner her sympathy at the upcoming beauty pageant. When she announces that, in the interest of community, her family will be the first in town to offer their hospitality to a foreign student, Starla walks off with yet another pageant crown.
The shy and unassuming Genevieve arrives in Splendona complete with horn-rimmed glasses and beret. Her sad tales of misfortune and lost love soon win her sympathy from the Grady family and their friends. Professing undying admiration for Starla and her wonderful life, Genevieve is only too happy to be at her beckon call and listen to her most intimate secrets. Ed Mitchell (Trent Ford), the school photographer, is the first to notice a hidden beauty under Genevieve’s unassuming disguise, and her picture is soon gracing the cover of the paper with an article about her tragic past . . . an article that was supposed to be about Starla!
Before Starla realizes what is happening, Genevieve has usurped her best friends, her boyfriend, her parents, her spot on the cheerleading squad, and her position as the most popular girl in Splendona. She even goes so far as to orchestrate Starla’s arrest for drugs and attempted murder.
All seems lost until an unlikely pair of supporters helps Starla. The small group teams up to expose Genevieve as the conniving, backstabbing liar that she is.
In pondering SLAP HER, SHE’S FRENCH, one must ask, though, doesn’t it take one to know one? Wouldn’t Starla have to have sown some of these backstabbing seeds in order to reap a betrayer like Genevieve? Indeed, she has! She’s lived a lifetime of such competition that she hardly even notices her ways anymore. No wonder heaven had to pull her out of her delusion!
This movie pokes fun at Texas in a big, Texas way – its big-haired, big-makeup, flashy-dressing girls, its meat-loving, beef-raising ways, its big, sprawling mansions, its loud, grating accents, its strong, dancin’, fightin’ women, and its love of wealth and appearances.
The acting by the protagonist, Jane McGregor, is superb, and there are several very funny scenes and lines. For instance, when the beauty queen is getting her mug shots in jail, she asks, “If these turn out good, could I order prints?” The rest of the acting in this modestly budgeted movie was not that special, however.
The humanistic and hedonistic portrayal of a world of vain philosophies, vacuous giving, personal indulgence and appearances was uncomfortably accurate and unsettling, though humorous. The protagonist offers one honest prayer, but mostly uses the names of God and Jesus to win beauty pageants.
The movie would be a good study for teenage girls in avoiding the controlling Jezebel spirit, or the “velvet hammer,” but there is too much foul language to wade through for the payoff. The music track has offensive lyrics, and there is a lewd, disrespectful interchange with the French teacher. All of these elements spoil an otherwise intriguing study about girl power.
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