Published Sep 01, 2004Everybody wants to make their "evils of America" movie these days and it seems Spike Lee couldn't help but toss his ball cap into the ring. "But why be simple?," Spike must've asked himself. Why restrict this movie to a mere roasting of corporate wrongdoing and abuse of the public trust and the common man seen through the lens of who else? a hard done by African American male? And why not make that altruistic, righteous whistleblower brother exceedingly well hung and, hilariously, in high demand by a bevy of silky, purring, uber-feminine non-white lesbians looking to become fertilised? Wait, this is too streamlined what about if we throw in a Mafia subplot for fun, cashing in John Turturro's marquee while we're at it?
When Lee made Do the Right Thing 15 years ago, with its rich caricatures of racial extremes in fever-pitch Brooklyn, his tendency towards the wide-tipped sketch of ethnic stereotyping was somehow forgivable, daring and part of the appeal. As Mr. Lee nears 50, however, his broad strokes instead begin to frighten. Within the first half-hour of She Hate Me's desperately directionless two-hour-and-18-minute racist and heterosexist tailspin, this horrifying thought occurs: Spike Lee might actually think he's being a reasonable filmmaker here. He might actually think he's being funny.
Instead of delivering a movie that makes sense on any level or actually jostles any of the paradigms it seeks to attack white corporate greed, the family unit, the judicial process Lee has run roughshod through a series of disjointed sexual fantasies, whiney vignettes of black-suffered injustice and an appalling paean to some kind of sick virile black hero fantasy that Lee himself is about as likely to come close to as Spongebob Squarepants.
Along the way, Lee manages to insult whites, blacks, Jews, Latin-Americans, Italians, straight women and especially lesbians, who in his fucked-up dream world consist almost exclusively of totally hot, sweet-smelling femmes who just happen to have a real weakness for big black dick. (In the interest of equality, Lee tries once again to be funny by forcing his protagonist to impregnate an entire team of butch rugby dykes, showing he's heard of, cough, both kinds of lesbians.) Also, all the lesbians have sex with one another as if they were straight.
This movie should be career suicide from its basic total ignorance to its rubber Nixon masks, sperm cartoons, hackneyed dialogue and lead-footed preachiness, but the only world sadder than the one She Hate Me portrays is a world that might actually not hang this small-minded, insulting, out of control filmmaker out to dry. (Mongrel Media)