Film Scouts Reviews

"The Real Blonde"

by Richard Schwartz

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Tom DiCillo made a splash here three years ago with "Living in Oblivion," his keen-eyed attack on the film industry. Now the acclaimed writer-director has returned with another cultural satire, but this time the story explores deeper issues in the process.

"The Real Blonde" is wickedly funny in savaging both the fashion and soap opera industries, but the biting comedy should also be recognized for smartly tackling love, sex and relationships in the process.

Matthew Modine stars as Joe Flanagan, a struggling actor who can't seem to find satisfaction in his occupation, personal life or seemingly anything else. His soap opera actor-buddy (Maxwell Caulfield) can't seem to locate happiness either, constantly failing to achieve his ultimate goal of bedding a "real blonde." Joe's make-up artist wife (Catherine Keener) is seeking something greater as well, much like every other character in this film. Their chronic unhappiness seems to stem from a failure to discern image from reality, a problem endemic to society and mirrored in DiCillo's acerbic portrayal of the entertainment industry.

The storyline is rather uneventful and the conclusion perhaps a bit too warm and fuzzy for some, but "The Real Blonde" still works thanks to some memorable scenes and sterling supporting performances. Most notable is Marlo Thomas, returning to the screen as an energetic rat-tat-tat fashion photographer with a taste for outrageous set-ups. Daryl Hannah, Bridgette Wilson and Elizabeth Berkeley shine in their roles as blondes trapped in their own images. Additional amusing cameos are delivered by Buck Henry, Denis Leary, Christoper Lloyd and Steve Buscemi.

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