Starring: Jane McGregor, Piper Perabo, Trent Ford
Director: Melanie Myron
Running Time: 92 mins
Slap Her… She’s French is an American film about a Texas beauty queen whose family invites a French exchange student to come and live with them, however the new arrival begins to turn her life upside down.
In all honesty, I had pretty low expectations of this movie. So, in a way, it’s just as bad as you’d expect, with shrill characters, stupid twists and relatively boring conflict, but there’s still something about its brightness and energy that at least keeps it fairly engaging throughout, even if it isn’t the most pleasant film you’ll ever watch.
It’s pretty simple to give you an image of what this film is. There was a genre of very formulaic teen comedies that dominated in the late 90s and early 00s, and this is pretty much the peak of that. American Pie has lasted due to a more memorably raunchy atmosphere, but films like this are nothing more than 90 minutes or so of tedious trivialities about popularity and stupid high school hierarchies.
And when you’ve got an entire story that’s based on something so uninteresting to anyone other than 11 year olds, it’s very difficult to care about anybody’s problems. That’s made even worse by the fact that almost all of the major characters in this film are really bratty, and end up screeching their way through the entire story, making the story not just stupid and tedious, but really annoying as well.
Fortunately, this isn’t the worst teen comedy I’ve ever had to sit through, because it does have a degree of high energy and some very bright colours, while the screaming does at least keep you awake. As a result, it’s not quite as painful a film to watch as possible, but the fact remains that it’s a properly irritating film throughout.
There are all sorts of reasons that the film is so annoying, and the actors don’t really do that much to help. The two leads are Jane McGregor and Piper Perabo, who play the Texas beauty queen and French exchange student respectively. Now, while the fundamentals of their characters may make for often likable personalities, the way that the two actresses play them is pretty insufferable.
It’s not just the high-pitched screaming, but also the very plastic and ungenuine feel of their performances, as if they’re constantly posing to the camera to show themselves off rather than actually trying to develop their characters at all. The poor screenplay doesn’t do them any favours, but I can’t say that the performances save the film at all either.
On the whole, I didn’t really think much of Slap Her… She’s French. Although not 100% awful, it’s a loud and trivial mess of high school genre tropes that don’t really provide any interest or genuine comedy at any point, and with two irritating lead performances to boot, it’s a pretty unpleasant watch from start to finish, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.6.