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Blonde Ambition (2007)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 1/22/2008

All Ratings out of
Video: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/20/2008

This article was originally posted on IMDB.com on December 24, 2007:

"Jessica Simpson may also have set a record at the box office. Her latest film, Blonde Ambition, co-starring Luke Wilson, took in just $1,190 over the weekend. True, it was shown in only eight Texas theaters, but that's still an average of less than $50 per theater per day, meaning about six people showed up to see it in each location each day. On his TV Guide Online blog, film critic Ken Fox asked, 'Doesn't someone like Jessica Simpson have more than 48 friends? What about that big Texas family of hers? ... Just how bad is this thing anyway?'" *

How bad is it? Let's find out.

Jessica Simpson stars in Blonde Ambition as Katie, a young woman who lives in a small town, where she works in bridal shop run by her grandfather, Paw Paw (Willie Nelson). Katie's boyfriend, Billy (Drew Fuller), leaves for New York to pursue work as a model. When Katie surprises Billy on Valentine's Day, she finds him with another woman. Heartbroken, Katie visits her cousin, Haley (Rachael Leigh Cook), who also lives in New York. The next day, Katie fills in for Haley at her bike-messenger job, and take a package to Connelly & Connelly. There, she meets Debra (Penelope Ann Miller) and her assistant Freddy (Andy Dick), who are looking to overthrow the CEO, Ronald Connelly (Larry Miller). Debra decides that Katie would be the perfect pawn for her plan, and convinces Ronald to hire Katie as his new assistant. Katie is thrilled to have gotten such a great job on her second day in New York (and never the least bit suspicious). Katie also meets Ben (Luke Wilson), a likeable guy who works in the mail room. As Katie tries to impress Mr. Connelly, Debra interferes and sabotages things. Can this small town girl outwit the city folk?

We'll get to the question of how bad Blonde Ambition is in a moment. Before that, we must ask, is this a bad movie? The answer is yes, but not in the classic sense. The movie is technically sound as it's in focus and the camera never falls over. It features several familiar faces and veteran actors who do what they can with the material.

No, the problem with Blonde Ambition is that you'd better watch for it to dart into traffic because this is one of the most pedestrian movies that I've ever seen. This isn't very surprising when we note that the movie was directed by Scott Marshall, who is the son of Garry Marshall. Garry Marshall has been responsible for a seemingly never-ending string of pedestrian and predictable films. The difference is that Garry Marshall's movies always seem to have a quirky character or an odd comedic charm which make them at the very least watchable. (And in the case of entries like The Princess Diaries, surprisingly charming.) But, we don't get anything like that with Blonde Ambition as this movie is strictly by-the-numbers. The DVD box claims that this is a romantic comedy, but I don't remember anything in the film being remotely funny, save for some lines from Andy Dick which most likely weren't in the script.

That aside, the success of this movie is placed squarely on the shoulders of Jessica Simpson, who is appearing in only her third movie here. It would be very easy to say that she is terrible in this movie, but that wouldn't be quite accurate. She's asked to say her lines, make goofy faces, and wear terrible clothes, and she's able to do all of that. The problem with her is that she has no screen presence whatsoever. True stars light up the screen, but her appearance is just as dull as any conversation which she had on her TV show Newlyweds. The makers of Blonde Ambition (specifically Jessica's father and producer of the film, Joe Simpson) want us to find Jessica's character cute and charming. Instead she's merely vacant. I would love to say that she was annoying in the film, but that would give her acting too much credit.

In the bonus features found on this DVD, producer/father Joe Simpson stated that he wanted this to be Jessica's Pretty Woman. I'm not fan of Pretty Woman, but I'm fairly certain that didn't happen. In that film, Garry Marshall made America fall in love with a hooker. In Blonde Ambition, America ignored a woman who dresses like a hooker. The movie itself is boring and predictable, and one has to wonder what in the world Luke "The Godfather" Wilson is doing in this movie. Of course, my biggest question is why does Willie Nelson hold a telephone so far away from his head? Does he think it's possessed?

Blonde Ambition dons hair extensions for DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is fairly sharp and clear, but there is some grain evident at times. The overall image is somewhat dull and flat, and there isn't much depth to the picture. The colors look good, most notably the pastels. Video noise and artifacting were seen in some shots. The DVD contains a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The New York City street scenes provide some stereo and surround effects, and the in-movie music (none of which is by Simpson) sounds fine, but otherwise this is a very standard track.

The Blonde Ambition DVD only contains two extra features which is surprising considering what a box office blockbuster it was. "Blonde Ambition: Behind the Scenes with Cast and Crew" (10 minutes) contains lots of clips from the movie peppered with comments from the cast, director Scott Marshall, and producer Joe Simpson. There's a lot of praise for everybody here, and no real information about the movie. There's a special focus on Willie Nelson and Marshall. The other extra is three DELETED SCENES which about 4 minutes. Two of these scenes are super short, while the third is a conversation between Katie and Ben where she explains why she always has a toothbrush in her hand. It's not a very good story.

* This text copyright IMDB.com.

Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long