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Alberta, a mousy young woman with the survival skills of a snail, loses cash that isn't hers, so she runs from her small town to Seattle where her old babysitter, Celene, lives - a dominatrix with a classy apartment and a life plan. She lets Alberta stay. Alberta gets a job as a checker at a supermarket and becomes fascinated with Celene's work. While vamping in one of Celene's costumes, Alberta ruins it; to make the money to pay Celene back, Alberta contacts Paul, who's sent Celene a tape asking to be a client. Alberta poses as Celene, fitfully playing the part when thugs burst into Paul's apartment looking for $500,000 he stole. Alberta is over her head. Is there any way out? Written by
Tricia Helfer wasn't exactly convinced she was a sex bomb during her high-school years. - I grew up a farm girl where I was into sports and into school. I was very tall and gangly, and you certainly don't think that's very pretty when you're a kid. See more »
How do you get them do to what you want?
Don't give them a choice. Believe in something strongly enough, even if it's total bullshit, so will everyone around you.
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Tricia Helfer sparkles nicely in this "Bizarro World" comedy directed by Robert Cuffley. In some ways it hearkens back to the mid-1930s and to some of the great screwball comedies of that era, except with a much harder and daring edge to it. She's an old friend of the bungling ingénue from a hick town ( Lee Lee Sobieski ), who has made a niche for herself in the big bad city by becoming a pro dominatrix.
For those who don't know, being a dominatrix is a lifestyle choice with psychological and sexual overtones, but rarely involving actual sex. It is about psycho-sexual mind games and role-playing, with its own rules and subculture. In all of that, Helfer's characterization and charm seems to be admirably suited for the choice of Celine.
Sobieski takes a brilliant turn as the goofy young friend who simply cannot keep out of her own way. There is in all of this comedic action a dark undercurrent of criminal behavior, as Sobieski's character -- ironically named Alberta -- blunders her way into and out of real trouble where there's real violence done to the real people in her life. She's like a lightning rod in that regard.
The genius of the film lies in how the director and these two superb actresses move the story forward, almost effortlessly, as every time Alberta stumbles into a predicament whatever she does next fails to resolve the problem. It only brings a worse and yet even funnier predicament.
The DVD presentation is terrific and there's just enough of Sobieski's beautiful body shown ( for the right reasons ), to warrant this film having a most sensible R rating. There's just too much sexual role playing in the plot for young teens, and it is not something in the way of entertainment for pre-teen youngsters, at all, period.
Aside from that caveat, this is one goofy, wacky, well-done comedy.
The criminal behavior involved in the plot is diluted somewhat by the hapless nature of the three criminal characters. They are bad hombres for sure but just so darned incompetent that they don't really frighten anyone, all that much ... adults, that is.
They are not misunderstood, it should be noted, these characters -- but they are comically incoherent and impulsive.
So this film ought to and does get seven stars out of ten, with two additional boxes of popcorn tossed in for good measure.
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