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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> November 1999 >> The Real Blonde

The Real Blonde

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
November 1999
IMDB Name:
Real Blonde, The (1997)
Tom DiCillo
MPAA Rating:
R for language and sexuality.


Tom DiCillo's The Real Blonde is a pleasant movie. It has a few laughs, some interesting characters, an impressive cast, and almost no surprises for the audience. It pokes gently at superficiality, but it never really moves in for a kill that would identify it as satire. The closest it comes are two sequences that made me do a double-take because the line between reality and fantasy is only seen in hindsight. Just when the script takes a radically surprising tone, it immediately dowshifts and dismisses it as a daydream.

Of the characters, Matthew Modine's Joe and Catherine Keener's Mary were the best. It's no coincidence that they also have the most screen time. I thought their relationship was one of the most believable I've seen on film. At the start of the movie, they've already settled into couplehood. It's such a refreshing change to not go through the tired mechanics of a budding romance. I've seen Keener before in Your Friends & Neighbors, in which she played the silence-loving Terri, but that movie is hard to recommend, regardless of the quality of the performances.

Small Fish

The Real Blonde is loaded with familiar faces. Don't blink or you'll miss many of them. The movie is so defocused that characters appear and disappear at an astonishing rate. Christopher Lloyd dons a tuxedo and supervises the waitstaff at fancy shindigs. Steve Buscemi does a turn as the director of a Madonna video, althought the movie cleverly avoids having the real Madonna present. Tony Hendra, Spinal Tap's manager, pops in as the director for a soap opera. Daniel von Bargen and Colin Mochrie of "Seinfeld" and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?", respectively, put in cameos. Denis Leary is here as a self-defense teacher a little short on self-restraint. The same could be said about Buck Henry's character, a psychiatrist who channels his own attraction to a patient into accusing the patient of being hostile towards men.

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Copyright 1999-2000 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.