Her Smell

This isn’t a review of the movie. The reason it’s not is because it’s a 2 hour and 14 minute movie. My wife and I hated the first 14 minutes of it so much, we turned it off. Now, I’ve done reviews of movies I’ve walked out of, but those are ones I’ve seen at least an hour of (and I always point that out). And truth be told, there is a possibility that this movie got better. It’s getting over 80% good reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s just hard to imagine it did get better, if writer/director Alex Ross Perry wrote what I saw, like a bunch of rock star cliches and idiotic stuff that didn’t seem anything like any band backstage (and I’ve been backstage at plenty of shows, thanks to a career in radio).

Here’s the premise of the story: Punk rocker Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss of Handmaid’s Tale and Us) was huge in the ‘90s, where she played arenas with her female trio Something She. Now she’s at a point in her career where it’s smaller clubs, dealing with a young child, frustrated bandmates, worried record executives, and younger bands that are more popular. Becky’s behavior ruins a recording session and national tour. With no more band or record deal, she decides to get sober and get her sh** together. But will that lead to recapturing that old magic and landing back on the charts?

Now, here’s what I saw. Her band waiting to go onstage, in a hallway backstage smoking. It reminded me of Spinal Tap hearing the crowd chant, and making the crowd wait for no particular reason at all.

It’s an encore, the band does a song, tosses their equipment on the stage and heads to the dressing rooms backstage. Becky is immediately handed a child, and the chaos starts. She’s yelling about one thing or another. A band member talks about partying. Another woman takes the child, and Becky goes into another room and we see this shaman looking guy, with his arms up and chanting something. She goes with him to another room, and another person comes in and a bizarre ceremony starts. In the middle of that, a couple walks in. It’s her ex, Danny, and his new girlfriend. This gets Becky screaming, and calling her “Tit-anny” instead of “Tiffany” as she leans into her chest to say it. Tiffany sees there’s a picture of her on the ground, with a candle on it, and starts screaming about a curse that’s being put on her and how crazy Becky is. It’s odd that the ex didn’t have better sense than to bring his new woman into this toxic environment. In fact, why is he even there? Becky has a dumb line about, “How can you be raising our kid in front of her?”

The rest of us are wondering why the kid is even in this backstage area and even visiting her mom in this situation.

There’s talk about her going on a tour of Europe, and not having bags backed…and everyone was yelling. None of it seemed the least bit convincing. My logic was — why do I want to spend another 2 hours with these people? And it’s not because she’s an unstable punk rocker. I’m fine with that. In fact, she had a Courtney Love vibe onstage, with Britney Spears eyeliner. The song reminded me of a Liz Phair tune (and she’s one of my favorites). If a good script was provided, I would’ve been on board; but Alex Ross Perry (who wrote the horrible Christopher Robin last year), didn’t provide that. Perhaps he has no clue how real people talk to each other, even rock stars that are angry. The opening shot of the band being excited at their photo on the cover of Spin magazine, might be the only authentic moment I witnessed.

Perhaps the fact that I sat through two hours of Natalie Portman playing a rock star in awful Vox Lux, made me weary of this early on. I mean, if you were eating a horrible meal, would you just keep shoveling the food into your mouth?

If you’re a huge fan of Elisabeth Ross, you should probably check this out. I never made it to seeing some of the other actors in the cast that I like — Eric Stoltz, Virginia Madsen, and Amber Heard.

I can’t tell you to avoid it, as I only saw the first 14 minutes and there were a few more hours to go. But the fact that I see almost every movie that comes out, and I wasn’t willing to give this a shot…should probably tell you something.

THIS JUST IN! I was telling a critic in L.A. this story and he laughed, saying, “I ran into a couple I know the other day, and they were leaving this movie. They said they only watched an hour but they couldn’t take any more of it.”

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.