Femme Fatale

dir. De Palma

Opens Fri Nov 8

Various Theaters

I have a friend back home in Seattle named David Fagerholm. He's a good-looking guy; tall and strapping, with classic Scandinavian blonde hair and blue eyes.

He looks like Rebecca Romijn-Stamos.

Or perhaps I should say that Romijn-Stamos looks like him, for David Fagerholm looks completely normal, handsome even. Romijn-Stamos, however, looks like David Fagerholm, a 22-year-old Norwegian man. She's huge, with quarterback shoulders and a man's square jaw. At the same time, she has the disgusting anorexic hips and the trashy hyper-sexuality of a supermodel.

She's not hot, but then neither is Brian De Palma, possibly one of the most squandered talents in film history. He uses split screens and long tracking shots to create superlative crime sequences, but can't pick a script to save his life. With Femme Fatale he's done the writing himself, but it doesn't help. The movie is supposed to be film noir with a touch of erotic sleaze, but what lingers is just sleaze.

Two scenes in particular stand out, and little else. The first is the elaborate opening segment, in which Stamos gropes another supermodel in the bathroom so she can steal her diamond-studded snake bra. Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds. The second scene involves her seducing Antonio Banderas by giving a lap dance to another burly foreigner. She then rides Antonio's crotch for five minutes. This scene feels even longer than the opening, though that may be because we have to watch Stamos tongue-wrestle Banderas instead of another supermodel.

I'm not chaste. I don't mind things that make me feel dirty as long as they're grounded in a good story. But De Palma's plot--about a high-crime chick who gets mistaken for somebody else, and uses her new identity to cause all sorts of trouble--is so convoluted it's downright boring. The frequent erotic interludes only drag it down more because they're so gross.

Then again, you may like watching skeezy women who look like Norwegian men doing gross things. Or you may, like me, prefer something more.