Unwatchable #27: “Bottoms Up”Posted: July 20, 2010
Your fearless – and quite possibly senseless – movie janitor is watching every movie on the IMDb Bottom 100 list. Join us now for another installment of Unwatchable.
If Uwe Boll is the king of Unwatchable, it’s quickly (or, more accurately given my recent pace at this project, very, very slowly) becoming apparent that Paris Hilton is the queen. I think this is not so much due to her acting (which is bad) or her choice of projects (which is worse). It’s just that people hate her. People who probably haven’t seen her work in the likes of Nine Lives and House of Wax nevertheless feel the need to pull up her IMDb page and cast negative votes against these films, because that’s the only way these otherwise powerless individuals can make it clear to the world that, whatever it is Paris Hilton stands for, they’re agin it. I suppose that’s admirable in a way, but what of the collateral damage? And by collateral damage, I of course mean – what about me? I’m the guy who decided it would be a good idea to watch the Bottom 100 movies and write about them as a means of entertaining you, and this is how you repay me?
Well, fine. If that’s how it has to be, then I’ve got one more trick up my sleeve. You see, I’ve decided right this moment not to hate Paris Hilton. Ha! You heard me! I LIKE PARIS HILTON! I like her permanent pouty face! I like her skadillions of dollars! I even like her ridiculous Carl’s Jr. commercial!
Or was that her sex tape? I can never tell them apart. Anyway, Bottoms Up is the latest of Ms. Hilton’s forays into thespianism to joins the Unwatchable ranks, and in a strange way it seems tailor-made to convince the Hilton haters they’ve been wrong all along. Paris plays Lisa Mancini, princess daughter of a high-powered Hollywood mogul, club scene fixture, and frequent paparazzi target. Like Paris, Lisa has one facial expression, fixed somewhere betwixt sultry come-on and “Who farted?” And presumably just like Paris, Lisa spends most of her spare time ladling soup down at the homeless shelter. I mean, that’s what I always assumed, and here co-writer/director Erik MacArthur (Life Makes Sense If You’re Famous) confirms it.
But Bottoms Up is not really Lisa’s story. Our true hero is Minnesota mixologist Owen Peadman (Jason Mewes), who journeys to Hollywood not to find fame in the movies, but to enter a bartending competition in hopes of winning the $10,000 prize that will allow him to bail out his father’s failing restaurant. The contest is rigged and Owen loses, but the outcome is less notable than the execution, a cluster-fuck of montage editing that would have Eisenstein rolling down the Odessa steps to his grave, in which he would then also roll around. MacArthur and his editing team make a valiant attempt at assembling disparate shots of hands, bottles, crowd reactions, and close-ups of Mewes and his competitors into a highlight from Cocktail 2: Electric Boogaloo, but the results are even less convincing than Hilton’s collagen-plumped lips.
Hilton’s Lisa Mancini enters the picture when a dejected Owen takes a job with his uncle’s TV crew shooting footage for an Access Hollywood-style gossip show and Lisa nearly drives over him with a golf cart. (I think this is yet another sly reference to events from Hilton’s real life, but I’m not willing to scour her Wikipedia page to be sure.) Although she’s dating flavor-of-the-minute actor Hayden Field (Brian Hallisay), romance eventually blossoms between Owen and Lisa, who are clearly meant for each other since they’re the two most affectless people on the planet. Their monotone love affair takes place against the backdrop of a mostly harmless spoof of TMZ-era Hollywood, complete with sex tapes, jacuzzi orgies, punched paparazzi and Kevin Smith cameos. (Smith plays Owen’s buddy back home as a favor to his Jay and Silent Bob running buddy Mewes, and it’s got to be his ideal role, as most of his scenes require him to lounge around in his bathrobe cracking jokes about alien anal probes.)
I say “mostly harmless” because Bottoms Up has a wince-inducing homophobic streak embodied by David Keith in a most unfortunate performance as Owen’s Uncle Earl, a flaming queen who mistakenly believes he’s in the closet. I don’t blame Keith; even though he swishes it up like he’s in a Three’s Company episode from 1978, he manages to make Uncle Earl the most endearing character onscreen. It’s not his fault the director seems to find campy mincing to be the height of hilarity.
Previously on Unwatchable: