The Real Blonde - * 1/2*

Tom Dicillo directs this superficial comedy about superficial people in superficial careers, all searching for deeper meaning. However, they won’t find much meaning in The Real Blonde, and not enough real humor, either.

Joe (Matthew Modine) is a struggling actor, or he claims to be one, even though he has no credits under his belt. His girlfriend, Mary (Catherine Keener) has no pretensions about her career: she’s a makeup artist, working for the eccentric fashion photographer Blair (Marlo Thomas) and supermodel of the month, Sahara (Bridgette Wilson).

Sahara, who has acquired a new age spirituality from repeated viewing of The Little Mermaid, has an on-again, off-again relationship with Joe’s best friend, Bob (Maxwell Caulfield). However, Bob has gotten his biggest break yet: a starring role on a soap opera opposite the beautiful Kelly (Daryl Hannah), who may be that illusive woman he’s always pursued: a real blonde.

There are some moments of good humor in The Real Blonde, but not enough. The best stuff is in throwaway details in the background, such as Sahara’s perfume ads: “Depression – It’s Not Just a State of Mind”. But to find humor in the superficiality of models and actors is to shoot fish in a barrel.

And, unfortunately, the film’s forays outside the realm of comedy are pathetic. Take for example the film’s framing device of an old lady and her dog. The story serves absolutely no purpose, makes little sense, and is completely tangential to the main plotlines of the movie.

Matthew Modine and Catherine Keener have the most sympathetic characters in the film, but they’re stuck in the most boring plotlines. Modine whines and complains and would be completely pathetic if he was matched against someone stronger than Elizabeth Berkley, who appears as another struggling actor. Keener’s character has a stronger edge, but the insult self-defense class (taught by Denis Leary, no less) she is stuck in makes little sense.

The movie’s running time is under two hours, but it seems like it is well over it. There’s just not enough humor to speed things along, and not enough meaning to propel any drama.

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