Swelter

That may be, but the movie is foolish, dull, and unfunny, light to the point of nonexistence, and it's not going to help anybody's career. It's interesting to watch local landmarks transmogrified by artifice -- what happened to all the droolers and cat ladies on Lincoln Road? -- but the experience of Miami, yet again, eludes an out-of-town artist. Two Much is supposed to be a lighthearted romp in the Billy Wilder vein, and God knows Miami's one big screwball comedy, but there's something lost in the translation. In the movie, an art dealer named Art Dodge (Banderas) takes up with Griffith's character, an heiress who's divorced from Aiello-as-wiseguy. Banderas, smitten by Griffith's sister, played by Daryl Hannah, impersonates an imaginary twin brother to win Hannah's heart. Eventually he's popping both sisters, every man's dream come true.

Of course, from a hype-meets-art-versus-life standpoint, Two Much is a diverting exercise in tabloid history. In the late Miami Vice era, the press was always chronicling the reconciliations of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith, the dysfunctional couple of the decade. Years later, as Two Much was being filmed here, I kept running into Hannah and Banderas -- a much-promoted family man -- draped over one another in clubs. Out of nowhere Griffith entered the picture, and the resultant alchemy of publicity made Banderas a star in the Hugh Grant mold. But no man is a hero to his wife, especially in Banderas's case.

In the end, though, bad movies and worse gossip are always better than a dull party, and the apräs celebrations at the NationsBank Tower had a convocation-of-the-damned quality. As usual, an unreasonable lynch mob out of Bad Day at Black Rock backed up at the elevators to the sky lobby, herded around like testy livestock. Upstairs the panoramic views were ignored in favor of the buffet tables, the guests turning really ugly. Griffith and Banderas had long since hopped a jet to Argentina, where he is shooting Evita with Madonna, and overall the party seemed to be a celeb-free trade zone. Although an Italian friend did introduce me to Danny Aiello; all Italians seem to know one another. Aiello, a sweetheart of the first rank, is a credit to humanity in general: "That was the first time I saw the movie. It makes me so nervous to watch myself. It's kind of light, nothing serious, different than what I usually do. What do you mean I look too nice to play a wiseguy? Get out of here with that stuff."

From there it was the chaos of the anonymous, one woman of a vast social circle rendered judgment on aesthetic perfection (a neo-Bridesheadian type with green hair, pink bathmat jacket, a teddy bear), and on all that was beyond the pale: "I'm from the gutter, but most of these people are disgusting. Still, even disgusting people shouldn't be treated like cattle. The same trash went to Vizcaya, but at least then we were all somewhere nice. This sloppy mess should be shot and put out of its misery. But since you're the biggest shit-pusher in Miami, you'll probably make it seem like something."

No doubt she'll be back next year, as all of us will, holding on to the chimeras of the night, the Holy Grail of fun. And there were a few entertaining moments at the Two Much affair, after I'd pushed some shit around, dodged anti-publicists, skirted a woman hurling in a planter, and went off on some lame Junior Leaguer who made a stink over having her drink spilled. A little friction and fuss is part of the program, as are the simple graces of nightlife. Ultimately the mere act of going out, anywhere and nowhere, can be deliverance enough.

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