His callers count their fantasies in minutes, but he smothers us for almost two hours with his own.


A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.

Spike Lee's "Girl 6" is an inexcusable bore. The producer/director has turned lazy. Don't look for a story; don't anticipate a laugh or a tear or a surprise; don't go. But do ask yourself how anything this thin and badly done could make it out of Lee's head, much less onto the multiplex screens.

Girl 6 (Theresa Randle) wants to be an actress. If you're going to build a movie on that shopworn notion, you better have fairy dust in your pocket. To pay the rent she takes a job as girl #6 in a phone-sex telephone bank. "O.K., that's a new one: what shall we do with it? Let's string together all the phone sex words and images we can muster and blow the audience away."

Mr. Lee, it seems, is unaware that mainstream America is bombarded daily in our multimedia culture with the words and images he finds so hilarious. Girl 6 sits in her cubicle responding to the "hear me, hit me, fix me" phone calls that come in from men who sneak their telephone pleasure. Mr. Lee seems gleeful in informing us that many of them are corporate executives. Wow. Really?

As added interest, he promotes Girl 6 to the rank of "Fantasy Caller." Same game, with the added freedom of working from home--the better to abandon yourself, you see.

We wait in vain for one of the phone calls to develop into an interesting subplot. A love story perhaps? A crime? Anything? No. Operating on a zero baseline, Lee shoots his picture full of celebrity cameos, sure that this will do the trick in a society that values such things.

It's a little hard to tell whether Quentin Tarantino is playing himself or a fictional Hollywood hotshot of the month. Madonna once again enjoys assuming a disguise--this time, a small-time boss in the world of secondhand gratification. The marvelous Halle Berry is on hand, to no effect. The failure of the presence of these proven performers to ignite anything is just further proof that Lee forgot to build the fire.

The Spike Lee who captured pieces of American culture with such piercing precision in "Jungle Fever" and "Do The Right Thing" seems to have succumbed to the inevitable. There's an unattractive arrogance to thinking that millions of people will be interested in one long, rotten, hypocritical evening of telephone sex without any connective storyline. He even dares to imply a comparison to Meg Ryan's sublime coffee-shop orgasm in "When Harry Met Sally" without any of the sly humor to put it across.

Lee's assumption that this hodgepodge can grab an audience is astonishing. His callers count their fantasies in minutes, but he smothers us for almost two hours with his own. The inescapable conclusion is that he too has chosen the easy road to self-gratification. Don't let it be at your expense.

Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 491
Studio : Fox Searchlight Pictures
Rating : R
Running TIme: 1h47m

Copyright (c) Illusion

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