"She's just a dirty white girl!" They're not at all the worst, but Foreigner is kind of a lame band, though I suppose lame and foreigners in the entertainment industry go hand-in-hand, because it's pretty lame that we keep having these English people come in and remind us of how bad most of us Americans are accents by taking our roles. Well, I suppose the reason why we keep getting foreigners to play Americans in our films is the same reason why we keep getting foreigners to do other American jobs: they're willing to work for little pay, because Juno Temple just had to have known that this film was going to bomb, seeing as how the whole craze over indie coming-of-age comedy-dramas ended with, well, "Juno". The fact that Temple is playing a promiscuous teenager in an indie dramedy isn't really helping her in her struggle to dismiss the title of being the blonde, English Ellen Page, yet what certainly helps is the fact that Ellen Page, boy howdy, definately doesn't have a body like this (As "Super" solidified; *shutter* skinny legs). Maybe a reason why Temple keeps doing these kind of indie films is because Hollywood is taking into consideration that she's still got quite a bit of baby face left and aren't willing to tell you that she's actually really hot when she wants to be, though maybe Temple is overdoing things a bit here, because, make no mistake, she's still got quite a bit of baby face left, is mainly playing a teenagers and wearing stuff, if anything, that would make Roman Polanski feel a little bit uncomfortable. Eh, well, she's definately not a teenager in real life, so I can say that she's still really, really hot in this film, though it's a shame no one saw it, especially when you take into consideration that, when she wants to, Temple can not only look good, but act well while doing it. Granted, she's not given a whole lot of material to work with, and yet, even if she did have more to work with, I've got say, as much as I kind of enjoyed this film, and for the right reasons... mostly, she still wouldn't have been able to drown out this film's own problems.
As with most modern indie films, the film loses spark at the slow-downs, lacking the budget and professional hands to keep entertainment value consistent, thus leaving the less lively moments of the film to slow down a bit too much, definately not to where the film gets dull, or even really disengaging, but to where the film limps out for a moment. Of course, when things do pick up and the film gets less indie, you're wishing that the film would slow itself back down and do something other than vulgarities to remind itself that it's not the pilot for some corny high school dramedy, because this film tries a little bit too hard to be mainstream, to the point of shooting straight over to network TV, though definately not primetime. Early on, and during certain moments throughout, the film stylishly dashes through plot points and exposition, TV style, as though it were trying to sustain audience attention for thirty or sixty minutes, which would be fine and all if we were actually here for thirty or sixy minutes, yet the problem isn't just that the film, as I said, gets slow here and there, but that this is a "film", and one that should know better and stretches over an hour-and-a-half, which is nothing by film standards, and an eternity by TV standards (50-something-minute premium shows are overlong enough, now imagine them thirty minutes longer and with more network storytelling sensibilities). As I said, these moments of extreme rushing occur only early on and here and there throughout the film, yet they really sting when they do occur, which isn't to say that TV sensiblities fall into play only during those messy moments, as the film consistently collapses into a kind of TV pop overstylizing and, to an extent, cheesiness (The lame music video-like scene where our leads sing along to "Lovergirl" nearly made me cry, it hurt so much) that dilutes subtlety and effectiveness considerably, as well as into immense genericism that basically kills the film's originality on its feet, while further diluting subtlety and effectiveness considerably. Of course, the film's amateur moments don't end on a TV level, as the film unexpectedly makes quite a few crucial swift shifts back and forth between dark-ish comedy and moderate drama, and the transitions aren't especially organic; in fact, they're jarring, tossing you back and forth between tones that don't gel and are rendered less effectiveness because of the tonal unevenness, as well as the profound TV type of unsubtlety that cheeses up the key dramatic moments so intensely that they come off as embarassingly saccharine and flat. In all honesty, the final act of the film is unexpectedly pretty powerful, once the film finally takes some blasted retraint, yet that potency comes in much too late, as the writing is rather clumsy and the directing is clumsier, which is what I was expecting until I finally got to the film and, to my surprise, found quite a bit of potential for something more, yet all I ended up getting was an uneven, generic and cheesily unsubtle misfire, though one that I certainly didn't walk away too dissatisfied by. The film is an absolute mess, and there's no way around that, yet where you would expect this film's hit-miss ration to not look terribly good, for every fault, there was an unexpected strength that certainly didn't raise this film past decent, but definately got it by, particularly as a style piece.
I'm telling you, you'd be surprised by how much the smallest type of technical value can make or break a film, and while Jonathan Lucas certainly can't omit most of the discomforting cuts in the script, and unfortunately gets a bit faulty during a certain climactic confrontation between Dwight Yoakam and Jeremy Dozier at around the hour mark, his editing is nothing short of phenomenal, keeping most scenes airtight, as well as energetic in their unique snappiness, which amplifies this film pop livliness and an undeniably impressive fashion. Lucas' top-notch editing, combined with an often cheesy yet consistently lively '80s pop soundtrack, as well as quite a few undeniably snappy moments of writing, flare energy in this film that may go betrayed by Abe Sylvia's many writing and directorial shortcomings, but unexpectedly won me over and kept me consistently entertained, with the one aspect that rivals the effectiveness of the film's technical value and style being, of course, the cast. With such people as Milla Jovovich, William H. Macy, Mary Steenburgen and Dwight Yoakam, the cast is riddled with big-time talents, all of whom really have little to do, outside of cool southern accents that they all nail, yet deliver all the same of memorably colorful charisma, with the unknown co-lead Jeremy Dozier standing among the standouts, charmingly and, at times, gracefully portraying the uncertainties, fears and ambitions of his closet-case Clarke character (That's a lot of "c"s, cousin). As for the lovely leading lady Juno Temple, she holds attention the most, as she is a revelation... physically, because we all knew that she was as cute as a button, but here, they toned down the baby face, a little bit of shame with it, and turned Temple into one of most stunning ladies of the screen of 2011, if not also 2010, when this film first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. ...Okay, forget subtlety and class, let's be blunt here: Good Gary Oldman, Juno Temple is so incredibly hot in this film! Acting-wise, however, there is, of course, nearly nothing for Temple to work with (or at least until the final act) in order to produce a revelatory performance, and it doesn't help that there wouldn't be too much revelation if Temple was asked to stretch, because we already know that she can act, as she reminds us here, for although she has close to nothing to do, she remains a sharp charm who finds herself dealt the role of a character who could have very easily have plummeted to be as unlikable as she kind of is on paper (I hate teenagers, and lord knows I hate teenagers who remind me of most everything I hate about teenagers), yet ends up making an engaging lead through hot southern charisma, married with a degree of unexpected depth that falls into play as the film progresses and helps in making such certain occasions the final act as surprisingly strong, thus leaving Temple to manage to carry this film. The film is so very flawed, and ceaselessly so, to the point of being rendered incapable of ever being genuinely good, yet where the film could have fallen flat as rather bland, it really does leave a bit of a colorful impression, as what stengths it does have are so immense, whether it be the razor-sharp style or blazingly charming cast, and while these strengths are components to the much better film that we got an all too brief glimpse of in the final act, they still spark up what we do have just enough to create an undeniably thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable final product, incredibly flawed though, it may be.
Overall, the film hits is slow occasions, yet is mostly tainted by very TV sensibilities that leave the film occasionally tight to the point of being messily frenetic, as well as prone to plummet into severe cheesiness, genericism and unsubtlety, made all the worse by jarring jumps between often flawed dark comedy and embarrasingly mishandled drama, thus leaving the film to fall short of the potential you wouldn't expect it to have, yet not to the point of being terribly bland, as it is made so very unexpectedly colorful by a lively soundtrack and Jonathan Lucas' snappily top-notch editing, as well as by an endless slow of charismatic performances, the most relatively upstanding of which being by a somewhat rather compelling Jeremy Dozier and a really, really, really hot Juno Temple, who helps greatly in making "Dirty Girl" a thoroughly entertaining and charming effort, regardless of its sadly unrealized potential.
2.5/5 - Fair