Mar 21, 2018
The Hottie & the Nottie (2008) (part 5 of 5)
And now, according to the caption, it’s “THREE WEEKS LATER”, and Nate is wasting away on Arno’s couch. Arno enters and pleads with Nate not to give up on his dream of banging Paris.
Arno: It’s like a wise old lady once said: “If you give up on your dream, you die!”
Nate: Are you quoting me Flashdance?
Nate: Are you quoting me Flashdance?
Okay, another show of hands, who actually remembers that line from Flashdance? I sure don’t. And while I’m sure there are plenty of people who do, very few of them are in this movie’s target audience. But Arno says he knows who can help out Nate, and he sets up a meeting with this Mystery Person.
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Nate heads on down to the beachside café, where he meets the Mystery Person, who is June. To be more specific, it’s Hot June. Everything’s been fixed. She is now sexy Christine Lakin, with no prosthetics. She and Nate are both thrilled at how great she looks, and she’s ecstatic over the fact that she got catcalled today. She also talks about how she and Johann are now officially a couple.
And watch closely, because this is the precise moment where The Hottie & the Nottie ceases to exist as a comedy. Growing in its place like a pod person is a lifeless Chick Flick, where Nate and June take forever to realize that they’re with the wrong people, and that they’re actually perfect for each other. There are literally zero attempts at humor for the next half hour. Not even grotesque, stomach-churning attempts at humor, which I actually start to miss.
This makes sense, I guess. It’s a one-joke comedy, and that joke is “June is hideous”. Take away that element, and the movie has absolutely nothing else to mine for material.
For no particular reason, Nate and June spend the evening together. But just as it gets romantic, Nate starts talking about how he wants Paris back. So June says their “annual costume party” is next week, and it’ll be the perfect occasion to win her back. Oh yeah, their annual costume party! Which we never heard about until now! Good thing that came around at just the right time.
And then the dull conversation comes around to how June has never been kissed. Nate says that’s not true: he kissed her in yoga class that one time, but June points out he actually just fell on her lips. So, to make it official, he kisses her right then and there.
Immediately afterwards, they give each other more “this is so wrong” looks, and to the sound of another hard edit on the soundtrack, Nate leaves. I think I’m not doing a great job of explaining how awful the song transitions are in this movie. It literally sounds like the CD skipped in the middle of the scene.
And just like that, it’s time for the annual costume party. And I swear to you, even though we only see him for a brief moment, one of the guests in attendance is the Ice Cream Bunny. I’m not even joking. I think we can now officially say this movie is the work of the devil.
And then Nate shows up to the party, dressed like Speed Racer, complete with an inflatable Mach 5 around his waist. It may not sound that funny, but this is actually the closest the movie has come to a joke in the last ten minutes.
June is here with Johann. And it took me a while to figure out her costume, but now I’m almost positive that June is dressed as Holly Golightly, complete with black elbow-length gloves. That one’s always a hit at parties.
Meanwhile, Johann is dressed as… himself. I’m serious: He has on his dentist’s coat, which even has his name embroidered over the pocket, and no shirt on underneath. So when you think about it, Johann Urb is currently playing Johann Urb dressed up as Johann Urb. But let’s be fair: I doubt even Paris Hilton could pull off a role this nuanced.
June tells Nate she smoothed things over with Paris, who’s thrilled that Nate is here. But she also warns that Paris is really, really drunk.
Enter a stumbling, slurring Paris Hilton. She’s wearing a tiara, and a big frilly old-fashioned wedding dress, and making a buffoon of herself. Somehow, I don’t think this scene required Paris to flex her acting muscles all that much. And as she’s talking to Nate, she loudly farts. “Don’t worry,” she says. “That wasn’t a smelly one. I can tell by the way they sound!” Was that… a joke? Wow, now I’m having all these nostalgic flashbacks to this movie’s repulsive sense of humor.
Paris is totally being a sloppy drunk, and spilling red wine on herself, and so forth, and eventually June has to take her away to get her cleaned up.
Meanwhile, Johann is making hors d’oeuvres. Nate tries one, and course it’s “wonderful”. Nate finally has to admit that everything Johann does is wonderful, and Johann is a wonderful guy, and perfect for June. Right on cue, Johann decides to show off his jerky side.
Johann declares that, thanks to all the work he did, June is “almost beautiful”. He then explains that “women like June are so much more… grateful”. He adds, “She worked hard. And I think, tonight… it’s finally time for her reward! If you know what I mean!” In case we don’t know what he means, he winks at Nate. And… that’s about it. That’s the extent of Johann’s jerkitude.
No, you didn’t miss a scene. That’s the whole reason were supposed to root for Nate, and hope that Johann and June break up. Yeah, Johann is being sort of an asshole, but is there a man alive who hasn’t talked like this when it’s just him and the boys? I mean, “It’s time for her reward”? Is that really that terrible in the grand scheme of things?
Nevertheless, Nate launches himself at Johann, and starts a big fistfight. He’s in the process of getting his ass handed to him, when Paris suddenly breaks up the party and throws everybody out.
And now comes a teary-eyed chat between Nate and June on the beach. According to my handy-dandy chart outlining the plot structure of every chick flick ever made, this must be the moment where the Main Girl admits to settling for the Other Guy, who’s sort of a jerk, instead of the Main Guy, who’s just a friend, despite them obviously being perfect for each other.
No, don’t try to convince June otherwise. She’s giving up on the fairy tale ending. She’s not the kind of girl that a guy runs to, professing his love while trying to catch his breath, and “not everybody gets that out of breath sort of moment”. And so, she’s totally settling for the guy who’s handsome, rich, and helps orphans, but happens to make one or two self-involved comments. Lakin plays this scene all big and emotional, and she actually does a good job at it, but what the hell? It’s not like she’s about to get married or something.
And then Nate eventually ends up in Paris’ bedroom, where Paris declares that a “deal’s a deal”. Her badly overdubbed voice explains it all: now that June has found someone, Paris is now free to have sex with Nate. Then she farts again, but reveals that it was a whoopee cushion all along.
Paris tells Nate that tonight she was “testing” him, what with being drunk, and farting, and wearing a wedding dress, and acting eager to get married and… Wait, what? That was part of some test? Wearing a wedding dress? To make it look like she was… eager to get married? Okay, sure. I totally got that.
Paris says she “just wanted to make sure… that you liked me for me!” Newsflash, Ms. Hilton: If a guy really wants to bang you, a couple of farts ain’t stopping him.
And now comes the obligatory musical montage: Johann and June are at Johann’s place, getting intimate on the couch. Meanwhile, Paris takes Nate into her walk-in closet, which is full of nothing but trashy lingerie, much as I imagine Paris’ real life closet to be, and tells him to pick out an outfit.
And then Johann pauses in making out with June to use a line on her, about her father being a baker, and how she has great buns. Which, as you may recall, is the same line Hairplug Porsche Guy was about to use on Paris back at the marina. Except, he didn’t actually use it on Paris; June just guessed he was about to. Oh my god, Johan is so totally the asshole that only exists in June’s mind!
Meanwhile, Paris tells Nate to get some candles, which for some unknown reason can only be found in June’s dresser. I guess that’s as good a flimsy pretense as any for him going in there. Once there, Nate comes across the valentine he made for Paris in the first grade. Except, Paris’ name has been covered up with June’s name, ripped right from that paper bag.
To explain it all, Nate flashes back to when they were in first grade, and we see him deciding to give his valentine to June instead of Paris. See? They were totally meant for each other all this time! Except, this is the first time the movie suggests that June even remembers going to school with Nate. And now we find out she kept his valentine for 20 years. But I guess that was the secret hidden subtext all along, right?
Blah blah blah, tender acoustic guitar, lyrics about having a “lot of love”. June and Johann are getting close to consummating their relationship. Meanwhile, Paris is waiting in bed wearing lingerie, looking about the hottest I’ve ever seen her look.
Nate comes in, and can’t even look at Paris, and tells her to put her robe on. He wants to talk, specifically about why Paris picked him. She said it was all “fate”, especially considering how they randomly met on the beach that day. Nate finally fesses up that he stalked her, more or less, which sort of puts a damper on things.
And then he talks about how he suddenly had an epiphany about June. “I think I gave the valentine to the right girl!” And even though he’s talking about something that happened 20 years ago, Paris immediately gets what he means, and tells him to go find June and tell her.
So Nate hops in his LOSER-mobile and drives down to Johann’s place, but when he pounds on the door, a shirtless Johann answers the door with a desperate, “June?” Realizing that June telepathically came to same epiphany as he did, he runs all the way down to Arlington West, and finds June sitting on a bench.
Meaning, of course, that he’s out of breath. It’s the old “out of breath moment” that June mentioned about ten minutes ago. Good thing the movie set that up just in time. Nate tells June that he thought he was love in with Paris all these years, but “I realized… I’ve just been fumbling my way to you!”
He says, “I don’t deserve you… because I didn’t take the time to see who you were!” Then comes more dialogue that’s pure Chick Movie 101: “You’re the girl! You’re the girl… that the guy runs to! You’re the girl!“
And the final line comes from June, and it’s 100% Pure, Unadulterated Chick Movie Cliché: “You’re… you’re out of breath!” The end. Well, at least it’s no, “Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.”
As unbelievable as this may sound, Christine Lakin actually shines in this movie. She’s a far better actor than anybody else in the cast, and she really sells her big emotional scenes. If I had a complaint, it’s that maybe she should’ve dialed the emotion down a little bit, but she acts rings around the two supposed leads. There’s absolutely no way she deserves her inevitable Razzie nomination for Worst Supporting Actress.
The other 8 or 9 nominations this movie is about to pick up less than six hours from now? Perfectly fine with me.
But I have to wonder, what was the message of this film? It can’t be that looks don’t matter, because obviously looks do matter, a lot, for everybody in this film. Otherwise, Nate would have hooked up with June while she was still ugly. If they were trying to deliver some sort of moral about the importance of inner beauty, they failed spectacularly.
In fact, you could read this movie as a blatant endorsement of cosmetic surgery. Life is much better/easier/more fun when you’re hot, this film seems to say, so all you have to do is get hotter, and you’ll have far less problems.
But I really don’t think that was the intention. It’s no more intentional than the other message I got from this movie, which is actually a pretty inspirational message for aspiring screenwriters. Which is that you should always remember one thing: if a screenplay this devoid of creativity can get made, there’s always hope for your script.
Stay tuned for more Guaranteed Razzie Contenders, coming soon! And check out the other recaps in this series: The Love Guru by Ed Harris, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale by Ryan Lohner, 10,000 B.C. by Jessica Ritchey!