Fatale

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Oscar-winner Hilary Swank and Michael Ealy. Neither will get Oscar consideration for this.

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When movie theatres closed, the studio held off on releasing this. That works in your favor, as it’s pretty bad. It’s the typical Fatal Attraction scenario, where a woman goes nutso after a one-night stand. What makes this one a bit more intriguing is that Hilary Swank (who also produced), is the crazy one. Oh, and she’s also a highly decorated police detective. 

Director Deon Taylor (who did the implausible Black and Blue last year) is back with another picture that has characters acting in the most unrealistic of ways. If the story would have just been over-the-top camp and cheesiness…perhaps that could have been fun. Or if a better script would have been written, even if it’s the type of thriller we have seen before, it could have been a fun escape. A guilty pleasure.

Michael Ealy is well-cast as the rich, smooth, former athlete who now has a thriving sports agency. He has a mansion with gorgeous views, and nice cars, but a snotty wife (Damaris Lewis) who might be cheating on him. So when he goes to Las Vegas for a bachelor party, and sleeps with a woman (Swank), we’re not supposed to fault him for that. The next morning has an interesting scene. He can’t find his phone, and she locked it in the safe. It was reminiscent of the scene in which Michael Douglas tries to break up with Glenn Close one morning in Fatal Attraction and it gets ugly quickly. That’s one of many comparisons to that film.

One of many problems with this movie is you can guess every single thing that’s about to happen, including with his business partner (played by Mike Colter). Screenwriter David Loughery shows that perhaps he should go back to the drawing board. He did something similar with Lakeview Terrace, where Samuel Jackson was a crazy neighbor and also a cop, so it was hard for the threatened neighbor to do anything. That film went off the rails, too. Yet Loughery’s first screenplay, was the first movie ever rated PG-13, and I saw it when I was 13 and loved it — Dreamscape (Dennis Quaid, Christopher Plummer). It’s a shame that this late in his career he’s doing such illogical stuff. Right up until the ending, which was implausible on so many levels. Not to mention the fact that the person who’s “innocent” of various crimes, in fact did commit a few crimes. Just because they weren’t as bad as another character, doesn’t mean they walk away scott free, as the conclusion tells you that person does.

It’s weird that Ealy just played a similar character in last year’s The Intruder (speaking of Dennis Quaid). That movie almost worked, until the second half got ridiculous. Perhaps he should go in a different direction with his movies. It’s harder to fault Swank, because she’s playing something she hasn’t before.

Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few moments of fun. Remember how we felt when Michael Douglas came home and Glenn Close was in his house talking to his wife in Fatal Attraction? There are scenes like that here, and even if they’re a bit cliche, it’s fun watching a cheater squirm. 

There’s a side story with Swank’s ex-husband (played by Dannny Pino) that isn’t the least bit realistic. He’s a big time politician that won’t let her see their kid. Any guesses whether he’ll regret that decision?

My wife made an observation about why neighbors are never hearing gunfire. It was a great point, but when she said it, I had long since stopped counting all the stuff that didn’t make sense. 

The Intruder cost $8 million to make, and grossed $40 million domestically. Black and Blue cost $12 million and doubled that. So audiences don’t care if they’ve seen these stories before, or how unrealistic they are. 

Fatale will probably take a fatal hit with movie theatres closed down, but if these are the types of films you dig, here’s another one for you.

1 ½ stars out of 5.

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