"In the Cut"
Directed by Jane Campion.
Written by Jane Campion and Susanna Moore. Based on the
novel by Moore.
Starring Meg Ryan and Mark Ruffalo.
Release Year: 2003
Review Date: 11/03
As the final scene ended and the lights
started to come up in my theater following a matinee of “In the
Cut”, the following phrases were heard from paid participants:
That last one was me. Even though I went to
the movie alone, I have a habit of booing bad films just to amuse
myself, and “In the Cut” was a major disappointment. In fact,
because of two lines of dialogue and Kevin Bacon’s uncredited
performance, this film avoids Hard Vice status...but man, was it
close. The film follows an English teacher (Meg Ryan) that becomes
involved in a murder mystery after police, led by Detective Malloy
(Mark Ruffalo), suspect that she may know more about the hacked-up
victim found in her apartment’s back yard. Malloy takes up a
personal interest in the teacher as well, plus we get to follow the
relationship between the prof and one of her students (Sherrieff
Pugh) and her half-sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh).
Coming into this film, I had been hearing a
lot about the “steamy, erotic” sex scenes between the two leads, so
imagine my surprise as I watched three very boring, very
unsatisfying sex scenes take place. Seriously, I encountered zero
heat as I watched those sequences, and it laid further proof to the
notion that American films are completely useless when it comes to
sensuality. I still can’t figure out if “In the Cut” missed the cut
because of the two people performing, or because the scenes were
badly shot, or maybe because Ruffalo’s cop character is such a
bastard as he mentally roughs up the teacher in their first
encounter. Gag. The film is based on the book of the same name;
writer Susanna Moore and director Jane Campion (“The Piano”) have
come up with what feels like a number of scenes that are just sort
of tossed into the film and we are forced to make sense of them.
So, there are scenes where the teacher is talking to her half-sister
(oh, did I mention Pauline is a stripper??) about virtual
masturbation...and, I’m thinking “Didn’t that teacher just hear that
a woman was mutilated in her back yard?” The pool of murder
suspects is also quite shallow, since we only have about five
characters in the whole movie. Suspense, we have so little of you!
Somebody on this production also thought it
would be “artistic” to always make sure that three-fourths of each
shot is out of focus; this became so annoying that I kept cleaning
my glasses thinking (hoping?) that it was just me...but, sadly, it’s
the stupid fucking filmmaker’s fault. Clichés became so bad at one
point that by the time Malloy—an Italian-American New York City
cop—informs us that he hates Jews, “coloreds”, and gays, I had
already guessed right on almost all of my hunches. But, a
late-in-the-film line about oral sex and Bacon’s hilariously
whacked-out part as a disgruntled soap star save “In the Cut” from
total dogshit status.
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard