THE REAL BLONDE (1997) [Feature]

USA (MIFF 1998 , International Panorama)
Director: Tom DiCillo

A cinematic satirist par excellence, Tom DiCillo delivers his most rounded, accomplished and funny film to date. DiCillo takes some familiar comic characterisations and allows his outstanding cast to go to town.

Joe (Matthew Modine) struggles to get by in Manhattan on a waiter's pittance. Unsurprisingly, he is also an out-of-work actor who shuns many a paying job waiting for a truly meaty role. Joe's long-suffering partner, Mary, fares better in her job as a beautician and has been carrying her beau financially for eight years. Envy - Joe's vapid and smarmy friend Bob lands a role in a trashy daytime soap - and a bizarre fantasy involving a bottle blonde stranger prompt Joe to accept a demeaning role as a beefcake extra in a Madonna video clip. As Joe endeavours to keep his pride intact and his pants on, domestic friction with Mary escalates and begins to involve an ever expanding tangle of friends, lovers and workmates, building to humorous hysteria of Woody Allen proportions.

Sexism, from both quarters, ambition and delusion all come under fire. DiCillo continues his critique of the film and television industry, targeting accepted practices and personalities rather than simply carping. The director's cast, often against type, is extraordinary and The Real Blonde is crammed with cameos including Kathleen Turner, Denis Leary and Christopher Lloyd. Fans of DiCillo s work, from the super-suave pisstake Johnny Suede on down, will be delighted with this assault on Big Apple sensibilities. Once more DiCillo exploits his boundless talent for outstanding dialogue and never allows The Real Blonde to flag for a moment. Amongst the best of MIFF 1998s comedy crop.

Tom DiCillo was born in North Carolina, 1953. He attended New York University's Graduate Film School and went to work as a cinematographer on such films as Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise. After the short Interview (1982) and documentary Blue Room (1983), DiCillo's feature debut was with Johnny Suede (1991). He followed this with Living in Oblivion (1994) and Box of Moonlight (1996).

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