Back in her MTV heyday about
a decade ago, Jenny McCarthy was unique as a Playboy-beautiful woman
with a totally goofy sense of humor and the ability to tell fart jokes.
(It's a dirty job, but someone had to do it.) Let's face it, most guys
watched her old series Singled Out because it was a hoot to see a
former centerfold acting like a twelve-year-old boy.
Sadly, McCarthy's career
never hit the heights that it looked like it would make in those days – she
kept bumping up against (figuratively and literally) fellow former playmates
Pam Anderson and occasionally Anna Nicole Smith. The sad thing is that
McCarthy was the most talented of that triumvirate (and frankly the
sexiest too). She was also the funniest of the three – at least on
purpose, Anna Nicole occasionally gave her a run for her money without even
However, McCarthy's projects
always seemed to stall; an MTV variety series received critical raves but
little in the way of audience love, and NBC sitcom also got reasonable
reviews but stumbled through a low-rated season on the air. Eventually
she was spit out of the Hollywood machine, making a living doing
made-for-video movies, small cameos in slightly bigger films (like
Scream 3, BASEketball and Scary Movie 3) and
occasionally guest starring as slutty bitches on sitcoms like Just Shoot
Me!, The Drew Carey Show and Hope & Faith.
Therefore, it is really
rather amazing that she received the opportunity to star in this film.
Even more of a surprise is that she wrote the screenplay.
Dirty Love is a good
showcase for McCarthy – both her strengths and her weaknesses. On the
plus side, she is naturally likable and charming. On the negative
side, her cute little tics can overwhelm her (and the audience).
It looks like because she was the star, writer (and one of the producers)
that no one was reining her in at all. She mugs for the camera and
allows herself to look the fool so much that we sometimes lose our footing
with her and our sympathy for her.
It's too bad, because it in
not a bad story idea and the film often can be rather funny. Other b-celebs
like Eddie Kaye Thomas of the American Pie films, Carmen Electra, Kathy Griffith
and apparently Drea DeMatteo (who is listed in the press kit, but I don't
remember seeing) show up and try their best to give McCarthy a hand.
McCarthy plays Rebecca, a
beautiful but completely neurotic photographer who becomes a complete basket
case when she catches her runway model boyfriend in bed with another woman.
She throws herself into a series of increasingly disturbing dates as a way
to get back at her ex and get her mind off of the pain. Of course, she
never even realizes that her dorky platonic friend (Thomas) is totally in
love with her and may just be the right one.
This can be funny, though
too often McCarthy goes for the cheap gross-out laughs, like a guy who has a
fish fetish and a guy who throws up on her. And one scene where Becca
is in a supermarket in need of a tampon is so over-the-top tasteless that
even the Farrelly Brothers would be shocked by it. Yet, it is oddly
kind of funny just because it is so blatantly out there.
All this is a distraction
from the true meat of the story, Rebecca and her clichéd best friends (Carmen
Electra as a jivin' white girl and Kam Heskin as a dumb aspiring actress who
sleeps around for roles) try to find true love, which turns out to be right
in front of them. Honestly, I'd have liked for McCarthy and Thomas to
have a little more of a spark between them, but no one's perfect.
Dirty Love is not a
very good movie, but it does show McCarthy to be an eccentric talent who
deserves a chance to get another shot at the gold ring.
All rights reserved. Posted: August 20, 2005.