Advice From a Caterpillar [Retro Review]

“You can lie to yourself, but not to me.”

The Scoop: 1999 NR, directed by Don Scardino and starring Patrick Breen, Andy Dick, Timothy Olyphant and Cynthia Nixon

Tagline: Two wrongs trying to date Mr. Right.

Summary Capsule: A funky artist woman who is involved with a married man falls in love with her gay friend’s boyfriend. Wackiness ensues.

Andie’s Rating: I’d like to have a regular. Somebody cute. To go places with. And help me out with the crossword puzzles.

Andie’s Review: Okay, so the only reason I own this DVD is because it got marked down at Blockbuster to $4.99 and with my discount it was 4 dollars and after the $2 off any PVT sale, it was 2 bucks so I bought it because I like Cynthia Nixon and Andy Dick. Turns out I got a lot more bang for my buck because I really enjoyed this movie. I can’t believe it took me so long to dust it off and watch it.

So it’s a romantic comedy. Generally I don’t like romantic comedies because they’re always predictable. This is not their fault, there’s only so much you can do with boy-meets-girl or girl-meets-girl or boy-meets-farm animal or whatever. I do not fault the movies for this predictability, I just wish that the movie makers would realize how stale and contrived they are and stop making 60 gazillion of them every five minutes. I mean, if I see another trailer for “Sweet Two Weeks Notice to Lose a Guy and his Home in Manhatten Alabama” starring Jennifer-Bullock-Kate-Lopez-I-look-just-like-my-Mom-Hudson I’m going to vomit.

But I digress. What I liked about Advice from a Caterpillar was that intermixed with the inevitable predictability was some neat, new quirky stuff. Like the falling for your gay friend’s boyfriend. And the woman being afraid to commit instead of the man. And the interesting married man (here called Suit) relationship and the way Suit interacts with the gay friend. It made for a fun, quirky little comedy.

It was nice to see Cynthia Nixon being someone other than Miranda Hobbs, Esq., which is the character she plays on Sex and the City. In this movie she’s a funky artist Soho type named Missy, which is cool. But her acting is basically the same, which is too bad. She’s fine, but I really like the supporting cast. Andy Dick is hilarious as Spaz. He was born to play a sassy gay man. Timothy Olyphant was cute as Brat, the bisexual man that everyone loves. Jon Tenney most intrigued me as his portrayal of Suit to Cynthia Nixon’s Missy. I liked them together and even though they were clearly not in love with each other, I liked how obvious and palpable their affection for each other was. Good show.

Finally, there are a couple really fun scenes. The first time the sparks fly between Missy and Brat involves a gigantic parachute-like piece of fabric that they flap up and down and then run under. Did anybody else ever do this in elementary school P.E. because we did and I loved it. It makes for a very playful scene. My other favorite scene was at the end when the conflict is finally resolved. It happens at a little roadside diner and all the diner patrons are putting their $0.02 in on the couple’s dealings. Very funny.

Overall, this is a cute little romantic comedy. For me to say that is quite remarkable because I’m not usually a fan. I think it is fresh and witty and can be enjoyed by all. I’d make this a double feature with something like Better than Chocolate or The Cutting Edge, two other romantic comedies that pass my test. Enjoy!

Premarital sex and smoking in bed? They should be glad they're not in a horror movie.

Intermission!

  • Jon Tenney (aka Suit) played Mayor Behan in one of my favorite movies, Tombstone.
  • That almost all Missy’s outfits in this movie are totally hideous? Ew. I know artists are “funky” and “edgy” and whatever, but they also own mirrors, right?
  • Spaz is involved in two references to being the “caterpillar” from Alice in Wonderland before he actually reads the book to Missy. Right at the beginning, he says, “I am old Father William” which is a poem Alice and the caterpillar recite and then when he is caught smoking by Suit, it is out of a hookah that is very similar to the caterpillar’s.

Groovy Quotes

Spaz: Cue music. [music swells] Okay, stop with the cheese. We don’t want some “Bette Midler sings the haunting love theme from whatever.”

Spaz: This is about Missy. Now, around campus she had a reputation for being not only a super fine artist but also a cool kind-of bitchy Diva. Happily, I am a gay man and that is what I look for in a woman.

Missy: Would you want to love again? I mean, I wouldn’t wanna be in love.
Spaz: I mean, I’d like to have a regular.
Missy: Somebody cute. To go places with.
Spaz: Yeah, and help me with the crossword puzzles.
Missy: But love?
Spaz: Love?
Both: Please.
Missy: Spaz, are we cynical?
Spaz: What?!? I consider that my best trait.

Missy: Is it love? Did you make these?
Spaz: Yes on croissant, no on love. Not even the threat of it. It turns out he’s bi.
Missy: A bisexual? I didn’t know they still made those.

Spaz: Sorry about this, Johnny’s a little bit of a whirlwind. But hey, you get to ride on Brat’s motorcycle, isn’t that cool?
Missy: Ooh, a motorcycle. Is he a senior? Can he get beer?

Spaz: This is the second most embarrassing situation I’ve had in my life.
Brat: What was the first most embarrassing situation?
Spaz: It involved a neighbor’s dog.

Spaz: Missy, this is Spaz you’re talking to. You can lie to yourself but not me.

Spaz: Well, so far I’ve had a comeback, you’re not getting married, your lover has stood you up and we’re arranging a sexual tryst. And we haven’t even ordered appetizers yet.

Brat: There’s nothing sadder than the death of an ideal.

Spaz: “You made lo-had sex?” Your little Freudian slip is showing.

Suit: How ya feelin’?
Spaz: Trapped in a Ralph Lauren ad.

Missy: Spaz, does Ronald Reagan know you’re wearing his ranch clothing?

Missy: So you and the Suit seem to be getting along well–away from it all.
Spaz: Norman and I are coming to understand one another here on Golden Pond.

Missy: Your Aunt Adele sounds–

Spaz: Oh, total whore. Bowling alleys, cocktail lounges-

Missy: Tight knit dresses?

Spaz: Bright red lipstick, Cleopatra eye makeup.

Suit: Maybe I should beat him up or something.

Missy: You couldn’t possibly.

Suit: I could try.

Spaz: You’re a shipwreck. You are such the shipwreck. Cookie pants, Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are jigging in your steerage.

Spaz: Oh, I can’t believe I’m in a maroon mini-van. ‘Let’s go pick up Junior from soccer practice.’

Spaz: Driving, like cocaine, brings out the ass in everybody.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • The Cutting Edge
  • Better Than Chocolate
  • Threesome
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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Danny Deckchair [retro review] « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

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