Movies at the Museum: Prêt-à-Porter
The scenery-chewing fiends in Robert Altman's Prêt-à-Porter (1994) are beautiful creatures with perfectly manicured claws -- i.e. the models, designers, and all-purpose rogues who frequent Paris' Fashion Week. Shot on location at the Carrousel du Louvre and other City of Light locales, Prêt-à-Porter was Altman's attempt to satirize the petty, vicious hijinks of high couture. In his signature style, Altman introduced a broad premise (fashionistas -- bad), populated the set with an infamous cast of thousands, riffed off a loosey-goosey script, and let the cinematic pieces fall where they would. Hey, it worked in Short Cuts (1993), a surprise hit that proved the exception to the rule and, alas, gave Altman the clout to, er, massage his muse with Prêt-à-Porter.
It's not a bad spoof, per se, just not a funny one, which is pretty much the definition of a spoof. Oops. It also suffers from another classic Altman tic: His actors act too much. If affected, anti-naturalistic performances were his aim, he scored a bull's-eye, as Sophia Loren, Kim Basinger, Anouk Aimée, Forest Whitaker, Julia Roberts, Tim Robbins, Lauren Bacall, Lyle Lovett, and Tracey Ullman dart hither and yon, hamming it up like junior thespians in a high school play. (Overemoting normally, 'cause they're playing themselves, are the likes of Cher, Björk, Helena Christensen, designers Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix, and models Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Christy Turlington, and Linda Evangelista.)
If you live and breathe couture, Prêt-à-Porter is an unavoidable must-see. I've already seen it -- unavoidably, on a date -- so I'm gonna go pop in a juicy monster flick, crack open a brewski or three, and scratch my crotch to my heart's content. Ahhhhh . . .
Sun., Aug. 3, 1 p.m., 2008
Get the Things to Do Newsletter
Sign up for our weekly guide to events in Phoenix, and never be bored again. With suggestions for every day of the week, our recommendations will keep you busy on any budget.