The Hottie and the Nottie

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Clearly attempting to remake Paris Hilton into the Bo Derek of our age, this comedy introduces its lead actress with a slow-motion shot of her jogging on the beach, with numerous hapless males ogling themselves silly. Unfortunately, Ms. Hilton is no Bo Derek, and "The Hottie and the Nottie" is no "10." Clearly hoping to capitalize on the star's notoriety, what should have gone straight to video has inexplicably wound up as a theatrical release.

The titular characters are Cristabel (Hilton) and her grossly ugly best friend, June (Christine Lakin). Pursuing the former is Nate (Joel David Moore), who's loved her since they shared a class in elementary school. Twenty years later, he travels from Maine to Los Angeles to pursue her, which considering his merely average looks seems like something of a fool's quest.

He's pleasantly surprised to find his hottie fairly agreeable to hooking up, but there's a catch. The loyal Cristabel has decided that she'll remain celibate until a suitable partner has been found for June. This is no small task for Nate, since she's no ordinary plain Jane. Sporting rotten teeth, hopeless acne and hair emanating from nearly every part of her body, June would seem a hopeless cause.

It won't come as a surprise to any viewer that underneath all this grossness is not only a decent, self-aware person, but also a hidden beauty who only needs a thorough makeover. This comes courtesy of the seemingly perfect Johann (Johann Urb), a handsome dentist who spends his spare time modeling for Men's Abs magazine. As might be expected, the more June's beauty slowly emerges, the more Nate finds his attention shifting.

While the film reveals a disarming sweetness at times, it also features so many lame attempts at Farrelly brothers-style gross-out humor (albeit of the PG-13 variety) that we quickly cease caring about the characters. And while Cristabel is supposed to be an airhead, such pronouncements as "A life without orgasms is like a world without flowers" seem more indicative of the screenplay's deficiencies than the character's.

Hilton fulfills her sexpot role -- needless to say, she performs the "downward dog" yoga position with particular skill -- without embarrassing herself, and Moore and Lakin are quite appealing. But "Hottie and the Nottie" is ultimately best suited for the confines of late-night cable.

THE HOTTIE AND THE NOTTIE
Regent Releasing
A Purple Pictures, Summit Entertainment production
Credits:
Director: Tom Putnam
Screenwriter: Heidi Ferrer
Producers: Victoria Nevinny, Neal Ramer, Myles Nestel, Hadeel Reda
Executive producers: Paris Hilton, Hans G. Syz
Director of photography: Alex Vendler
Production designer: John Larena
Music: David E. Russo
Co-producers: Grace M. Lee, Josh Lekach, Roger Crotti
Costume designer: Christopher Lawrence
Editors: Jeff Malmberg, James Miley
Cast:
Cristabel Abbott: Paris Hilton
Nate Cooper: Joel David Moore
June Phigg: Christine Lakin
Johann Wutrich: Johann Urb
Cole Slawsen: Adam Kulbersh
Running time -- 98 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13
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