Sunday, March 10, 2013
Excision: Jay's Movie of the Week #10
If you've dismissed Annalynne McCord as just another pretty face, she's here to school. I really only knew her from her bold, fun turn on Nip/Tuck. Terrific there, she's brilliant here. Her Pauline is too smart for her own good, and a budding psycho to boot. It's a good part and she runs with it, willing to sacrifice vanity for the opportunity. Her glamorous public image, echoed in the fantasy scenes here. makes for sharp contrast against Pauline's pimply, homely reality. She has no social skills and you almost forget amongst all the gore that she's dryly hilarious.
As Pauline's foil, Traci Lords' Phyllis is shrill and scarily direct. All steel and smoldering dissatisfaction, she can cut everyone down with a look and makes it clear where Pauline got her lack of grace. She pouts and glowers, but also conveys a love for her family along with her drive for perfection. Lords frequently surprises by being better than the material she's given, and has really grown as an actress. If McCord didn't have such a strong turn here, Lords would own this. The rest of the cast clearly showed up to play. Peter Bart and guest stars John Waters, Malcolm McDowell, and Marlee Matlin are all game, even if not given as much to do.
To tell too much is to give the thrills away, though the ending is that rarest of things, a genuine shock. While some of the proceedings are padded, circling the same points; Richard Bates, Jr. is a talent. His first outing rings with echoes of May and Donnie Darko. Excision is a delightful, disgusting triumph. Nauseating, disturbing, memorable; it proves AnnaLynne McCord is a lot more than a pretty face.