Film Scouts Reviews

"To Die For"

by Eleanor Ringel

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October 15,1995

TO DIE FOR: Is to DIE for. And it may bring Gus Vant Sant back from the dead after his kamikaze career-move, "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues." In this wickedly funny look at TV-spawned celebrity-obsession, Nicole Kidman gives a breakthrough performance as a psychopathic Jane Pauley wannabe. Stuck as a weather girl at a smalltown cable station (run by a hilarious Wayne Knight), she decides that the first impediment to her video dreams is her husband (Matt Dillon) and his cozy vision of their Happy Meal future. Based on Joyce Maynard's book (which, in turn, was based on a real smalltown scandal) and written by Buck Henry, the movie is a hilarious study of strawberry-blonde ambition as well as a black-comic cautionary tale about what can happen to a nation of soft heads and "Hard Copy." True, the film doesn't tell us anything profound or even anything new, but it catches, with uncanny accuracy, a startling moment in our nation's Geraldo-ized psyche. Working her way through a barrage of reporters after Dillon's been dispatched, Kidman sparkles for the TV cameras like a '90s Norma Desmond. She's ready for her close-up, Mr. Bochco.

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