Starring: Al Pacino, Catherine Keener, Jay Mohr, Evan Rachel
Wood, Elias Koteas and Rachel Roberts.
Directed By: Andrew Niccol
Rated: PG- 13
Pacino is a genius
.pure and simple. Too bold a statement?
Get your own review.
Simone is an intelligent comedy with talent oozing from every
thread of its celluloid. Okay, the joke, Simone is a digitally
produced icon, gets a tad old towards the end. But watching Al
effortlessly deliver comedy, as easily as say Richard the third,
one tends to forgive any overkill in his hands.
goes Hollywood director Viktor Taransky (Al -do no wrong- Pacino)
is a near wash up. His own ex-wife Elaine (stunning Catherine
Keener) has given him the velvet boot from her studio. Ooch.
clearing out his desk a mad man and computer wiz, Hank (Elias
Koteas) approaches the disheveled Vik. Hank tells a tale of a
movie star creation he's produced. This star doesn't require a
colossal trailer, segregated Mike & Ike's or even a paycheck.
His starlet is just pixels. A Synthespian. A vactor (virtual actor).
escapes with his own problems and forget the whole ludicrous idea
As fate and plot would have it Vik inherits the technology from
the recently demised computer wiz.
he takes a chance and pops in the maniacal misfit's program and
viola Simone becomes.
is a hodge podge of all the greats that came before. A smidge
of Hepburn, a dash of Garbo, even a wee of Lauren Bacall. Vik
learns how to manipulate the "star" and infuses her
into his would-have-been-a-failure-film, Sunrise Sunset.
is an instant hit. The public cannot get enough of her. Thanks
to Photoshop and clever diversions Viktor is able to keep the
illusion alive - so to speak.
Vik realizes perhaps he's made a dreadful mistake. He only wanted
recognition and a pat on the back
.and we careen into the
Pacino seems like he'd be fun to slip into a seedy eatery
with and gorge on home style Italian and wads of red wine! Can't
you just see him wearing the lampshade and tango-ing to the delight
of un amused patrons? Maybe it's me
Keener, who I adore, finally gets a meaty big budget role!
She has a boy toy in this too. Hehehe. Her boyfriend Kent (Jeffrey
Pierce) is at least ten years younger! Great casting. Ms. Keener
shared her glow of working with Afonso here.
Evan Rachel Wood plays Lainey daughter to Al and Catherine. This
kid really shined. I mean she easily could have been zinged in
the heat of their star shine but did not. Watch for her.
Koteas is really a studmuffin folks. Here he briefly and perfectly
plays Hank, Simone's creator, complete with a madman's eye patch
and that signature unshaven insanity stricken façade. Rent
anything with his name and you wont be disappointed.
Mohr as semi-snooty daff perpetual co-star Hal captured that certain
feeling one gets when around baloney! His scenes are -
per usual - fantabulous. Not quite jumpable, he's still aging
quite nicely. Slurp.
inside jokes and not-so-inside jokes are well written and impeccably
delivered by all.
What makes this not only watchable but a genuine hoot is the talented
cast. Dear me you get Al, of course but also, Catherine Keener,
Jay Mohr, Winona Ryder (playing a pouty bitch hag starlet to a
tee) and some notables I wont spoil for you!
for the razor sharp metaphor about the silliness of celebrity
too. The screenwriter/director Andrew Niccol (who also did brilliant
unfathomably unloved Gattaca and Truman) has created a virtual
laughfest if, perhaps, a pinch too long. Looking at his resume
Andy seems a wee bit obsessed, like Spielberg, with what technology
can do to us if we are not careful
(<- insert dramatic
orchestrated crescendo here please)! Enjoy.
Recommendation: Faux chicken tacos and vegan cheese enchiladas
from Lenor's NoHo.