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Notes From The Back Row

Star power

Everybody wants to be something else

As far as dudes go, there’s a hierarchy involved. Most guys sit on their asses all day, wasting oxygen and watching sports on TV, too lazy to ever amount to much more than a Superbowl pukestain on a second-hand couch.

These dudes wish they could transcend their miserable, shitpot lives and become famous sports stars, or, even better, super-gnarly extreme sports stars.

But the real extreme sports stars are miserable too. Dumb energy drinks and semi-slutty fangirls aren’t enough for them. Extreme dudes want free cocktails and thirsty Hollywood starlets. They want to be movie stars (e.g. Johnny Knoxville, or half of Whistler).

But the movie stars aren’t happy either. They’re sick of martinis and breast implants. They want whiskey and girls that will take the whole beer bottle. They want to be rock stars, or, more specifically, they want to be Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, for obvious reasons.

One of these reasons, Tommy’s ex-wife Heather Locklear, has a new movie out this week, starring alongside pop-tart Hillary Duff in The Perfect Man , another crappy romantic comedy that pushes strong family values on us.

It’s a feel-good mother/daughter story wherein the daughter, tired of constantly moving to accommodate her mother’s failed flings, invents a secret admirer. Locklear (remember how bitchy/sexy she was on TV’s Melrose Place?) still looks good and Duff isn’t nearly as annoying as you’d expect, but the movie is still sappy, emotional tripe.

Although The Perfect Man does remind us that family is number one, Locklear still spends most of the picture playing a horny tramp that can’t imagine her life being worthwhile without a good man by her side. While that works for rock stars it’s not exactly the kind of strong, independent woman message I’d want for my daughter–who’ll probably end up a sassy contract killer or a something equally cool, like a racecar driver.

Car racing was invented when they finished building the second car, and racecars hit the silver screen this Wednesday with Herbie: Fully Loaded

It’s a Disney film, which means the premise is very familiar. Secret magic powers assist the cute, poor, loser-ish underdog to defeat the rich, popular adversary and win everyone’s love and admiration, while everyone learns about how special we all are as individuals. Great stuff – if you’re 10 years old.

Starring Lindsay (hotter and better than Hillary Duff) Lohan, Michael (I need a paycheck) Keaton and Matt (me too) Dillon, Herbie: Fully Loaded is not that bad at all.

While CGI effects detract from the original mystique, cartoonizing Herbie too much, the 1963 Volkswagen Beetle-with-a-heart is still as cool as when I was a kid. In fact, I remember arguing on the bus about which car was better: Herbie (magic), K.I.T.T. (technology), or The General Lee (good ol’ boys and moonshine-fueled craziness).

The truth is, I still don’t know, but if I were a Rock Star I’d buy all three. And Lohan too.

The problem with the sport star/movie star/rock star theory is it doesn’t really take into account the artsy types, the loners, the movie buffs and the comic book geeks. What did they want to be when they grow up? Superheroes of course, badass ones like Batman.

Go check out the audience at Batman Begins , now playing at the Village 8. It rules.

AT VILLAGE 8 June 17-23: Adventures of Shark Boy & Lava Girl, The Perfect Man, Cinderella Man, Lords Of Dogtown, Madagascar, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Batman Begins, Star Wars III, Herbie: Fully Loaded (starts Wednesday).

AT RAINBOW THEATRE June 17-23: Kicking and Screaming.