Totally Blonde (2003) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual humor and language
Running Time: 94 min.
Cast: Krista Allen, Michael Buble, Maeve Quinlan, Brody Hutzler, Mindy Sterling
Director: Andrew Van Slee
Screenplay: Andrew Van Slee
If you want to see a film that seems hurriedly slapped together, you won't find many better examples than Totally Blonde, writer-director Andrew Van Slee's mystifying romantic comedy. I'm not sure if the finished film adhered to what was intended in Van Slee's original script, or if it even had a script at all before shooting, as it meanders from point to point and still ends up feeling pointless. The biggest question mark is raised by the title of the film itself, which starts off with brunette Allen going from brunette to blonde, then ignores its hook the rest of the way. It's the first of many things the film would set up and ditch before it's all through.
Blonde stars Krista Allen ("Baywatch", Anger Management) as Meg, a ditzy but gorgeous brunette who undergoes a lifestyle change when she "hits the bottle" and becomes a ditzy but stunning blonde. Men are pounding on her door, but not the right men she thinks, until one day she makes friends with a sweet-natured crooner at a local swing club, Van. Van's nicer than the rest of them, but any chance the two have of becoming anything more than friends is squashes by a chance meeting of an old high school crush, Brad. Hope isn't lost for Van though, as Meg's best friend Liv enters the mix, stirring up Meg's feelings for Van she never knew she had before.
There are two things that makes Totally Blonde watchable for a fairly disastrous romantic comedy. First, there are the nicely orchestrated jazz tunes written by Van Slee, sung by Van's portrayer, Buble himself. If Van Slee has worked nearly as hard on his screenplay as he does with making good songs, we'd probably have a much better film all around. The second aspect comes from a likeable cast. There really isn't very good material to work with here, but the mostly ad-libbed comic bits in the smaller roles played by real-life stand-ups are almost "comic relief" from the often strange main story. The lead performers have some appeal as well, but are stuck in wafer-thin characters and contrived situations.
For the most part, Totally Blonde remains an adequate, but unspectacular low-budget watch, with the occasional nice surprise, throughout most of the film. It's in the final fifteen minutes that the film goes into a freefall in quality, as a needless plot development is introduced in one of the most forced happy endings one could have possible conceived of. For a movie that exalts deeper love than just the external, it splits the two characters that actually seem to have genuine feelings for each other, just so the main star can have some semblance of a happy ending, undoing everything that came before it, both in a narrative sense and thematically.
If you have the hots for Krista Allen, or just love Frank Sinatra-style jazz music, you just might be able to sit through the poor story and gain the most meager of entertainment. Other than that, Totally Blonde has very little going for it in freshness or plausibility, and even these scant pleasures are wiped away by the terribly conceived ending. To borrow from an old blonde joke, Totally Blonde is like a beer bottle...both are empty from the neck up.
©2003 Vince Leo