Directed by Steven Brill
Written by Steven Brill
Starring Elizabeth Banks & James Marsden
With some notable comedy credits to his name with the likes of Mr Deeds and Little Nicky (the less said about Movie 43, the better), Steven Brill writes and directs funny lady Elizabeth Banks in a day from hell. Banks plays local news anchor Meghan Miles, up for promotion to the national news. On the day featured, this girl with no skeletons in her closet, needs to get to work. Events don’t go as planned, however, with a story that begins innocently enough at a bar the night before with her friends and ends up with her tracking across town on foot after sleeping with one of the bartenders (Marsden), apparently unable to find anyone to help her. The reason for her trouble? Well, it might have something to do with the dress.
You’re going to need to put your incredulity aside if you’re going to make it all the way through here. Would a woman with a journalism degree end up in this position? Would a ‘good girl’ feasibly end up in a strangers house with no recollection of where she was? Alcohol has been accused of many things, but just how drunk was she? Events in the film do indeed make sense, once you have bought into the nonsensical plot. It is easier to believe that this poor woman is just a victim of circumstance if you believable she has a realistic chance of being stupid enough to get herself into this position in the first place, which it really isn’t. But what the hell, roll with it…
Honestly, I can think of only a few things I’d rather be doing than watching Elizabeth Banks teeter about on high heels in a (they said it, not me) slutty dress. Banks has always been very pleasing on the eye, but you have to wonder what message we are supposed to take away from this.
Raising the occasional laugh out loud moment from the outset, the course of this woman’s night and day does become rather tiresome and predictable before too long and whilst there are some inventive, amusing scenes, there are just as many pointless and frankly ugly ones.
I have been accused of mysoginy myself in the past and have defended my right to practice it for the sake of entertainment and that is what Brill and, more suprisingly, Banks are doing here, playfully poking the feminist argument with a big enough stick, in the hope of getting it suitably annoyed. Just for a laugh.
Banks’ dress is probably the star of the whole film. I say this as it is referenced so frequently, as if Brill is waving a flag of unfettered sexism throughout. This woman, completely oblivious to the furore she is causing with her innocent actions is referred to as ‘the woman in the yellow dress’, so often that her outfit practically negated her character altogether. Banks, who is too smart to be fooled into ending up a puppet to such blatant voyeurism must have, we assume, been convinced of Brill’s possibly more honourable intentions with regard to the character and her development, otherwise, why even bother?
There is an attempt by Brill to address what we’ve all been thinking whilst shifting politcially correctly in our seats for almost an hour and a half. As if as an afterthought, Bank’s speech to the audience about the trouble she has experienced throughout the day because of people’s preconceptions with regard to her outfit and the kind of woman she must be to end up wearing it. This carries little weight as way too much time has been spent beforehand taking advantage of this preconception for the sake of the film. A short aside, as if to highlight that they knew what they were doing all along does not make it believable, or come to that, acceptable either.
Possibly, we can be accused of judging too harshly. This is a comedy after all, albeit not a massively funny one. Whether you will feel right in your own skin laughing at it, however, is another story entirely. As a social comment about how you should treat someone because of how they are dressed, it is timely, but not delivered well or, we can suspect, for the right reasons.