The national association of bear-baiters and hare coarsers got themselves very excited recently when we invited them to attend a screening of this week’s new film ‘Catfight’ and were sorely disappointed if only for the fact that we locked them in the screening room with a rabid half tonne grizzly bear and a cry of, ‘See how you like it!’
Catfight does not do what it says on the tin but instead features Anne Heche and Sandra Oh as, respectively, a lesbian artist and a businessman’s wife who meet at a celebratory party for a deal that Oh’s company has secured. It transpires that the two know each other from their school days and their petty disdain for each other is reignited as they exchange snide remarks. Oh resents being called a trophy wife and Heche suffers disparaging remark s about continuing to struggle as an artist and it all degenerates into childlike and childishly puerile insults ending with a spectacular and utterly brutal punch up between the two in a stairwell leaving Oh in a coma for two years. On regaining consciousness she finds her place in society reversed. ‘Oh!’ says Oh when she finds that she’s lost everything including her husband and her soldier son who was tragically killed in a military operation. It a riches to rags story and she is reduced to living with her ex-maid and ultimately has to work as a maid herself. For Heche it’s a rags to riches story with her career going stratospheric as an artist. Added to this is her pregnancy at the behest of her partner played by Alicia Silverstone in a decent role for once. The film is effectively in two mirrored halves with Heche later ending up unconscious and hospitalized too with her career taking a turn for the worse and like Oh finds her riches turning to rags.
With its dig at President Trump (and frankly with him only having been in power for a couple of months we can expect to see many more films making jokes at his expense) it’s a film centred around 3 brutal fights which if your into that sort of thing will make you ecstatic but for the rest of us there’s something unedifying about two women in a fist fight which grow increasingly ludicrous when they resort to hitting each other about the head and face with a hammer and wrench. But perhaps that’s the point as this is a comedy and Oh is hilariously vitriolic and spiteful whereas Heche‘s character is generally just hateful especially in a scene where she beasts her wonderfully sweet assistant Sally who later on gets her own chance to deliver a witheringly sweet put down. It’s especially good to see Alicia Silverstone back as Heche’s lesbian but cloyingly maternal partner having spent 20 years in the acting wilderness. It’s been a long time since Clueless and when Scooby Doo2 becomes one of your better roles you know your career is in trouble. It’s not as s sharp as it thinks but at 96 minutes it’s a chance to remind audiences what some old and new can do.
Here’s the trailer…….