High Heels and Low Lifes



UK 2001 : Mel Smith : 92 mins

Takes the lead in the race for 2001’s awkwardest title – Bridget Jones’ Snatch would have been a snappier, (not to mention more honest) choice, given HHLL’s brazenly opportunistic yoking-together of current movie trends. Minnie Driver and Mary McCormack (American, not to be confused with Catherine Braveheart McCormack) are best-pal London singletons, inadvertently stumbling into Lock Stock territory when they overhear a bank heist. Spotting the chance of some adventure – and cash – the pair try to bluff the crooks into handing over a slice of the swag, leading to some predictably comic-dramatic confrontations and convolutions.

As with most examples of so-called ‘girl power,’ HHLL is the calculated product of stodgy middle-aged blokes, this ‘Mel and Kim’ (Smith, director and Fuller, scriptwriter, also responsible for SpiceWorld) reminding us that, for all his faults, Guy Ritchie knows how to a) write relatively ‘current’ dialogue, blending humour and tension where required and b) film the results with some consideration of visual flair.

Smith handles the climactic gun-stuff OK, but when he tries something a little ‘arty’ – a supposedly 60s-style montage with multiple screens-within-the-screen – he just ends up embarrassing himself. While selecting the Sugababes’ terrific ‘Overload’ for this sequence was a solid enough choice, the track’s effortless cool ends up making Smith’s straining-towards-hip seem all the more desperate. It falls to Driver and McCormack to salvage things, and they almost carry it off, only for Smith to go and use ‘Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves’ over the end credits – typical of a movie so infuriatingly lacking in originality and imagination.

24th June 2001
by Neil Young
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