Pretty Cool Too

| June 11, 2007

Remember I Dream of Jeannie, the old TV show where Larry Hagman had a real, live genie (in the buxom form of Barbara Eden) who wanted to grant his every wish? Or Weird Science, John Hughes’s update that had a couple of computer geeks create a superintelligent artificial life form who happened to look like supermodel? Writer/director Rolfe Kanefsky gives the concept an upgrade (technologically speaking, anyway) in Pretty Cool Too, an apparent sequel (though I doubt you’d need to see the original to follow this one).
Walter (Eric Fagundes) has a pretty sucky life: his older brother Dave (James Ferris) is an unrepentant asshole and girls look right through him except for his best friend, Agatha (Julia Lehman), who is cute, smart, funny and small-breasted, and therefore of little interest to Walter as a member of the opposite sex. He’d rather ogle his brother’s “hot” girlfriend, who has implants the size of NBA-regulation basketballs, or the reality-show stars in the house next door, most of whom are also silicone-enhanced.
Things start looking up for Walter, though, when his parents give him a kick-ass cell phone as a present for his high school graduation (even though he looks old enough to be going for his Ph.D). This cell phone can do just about everything (make calls, surf the Internet, etc.). But when Walter is struck by lightning while standing right near Agatha’s latest invention–some kind of mind-control machine–the cell phone not only develops a mind of its own, it really can do anything: dial any number anywhere at any time, control minds, create 3D simulated babes and even change Walter’s appearance.
So what does Walter do with this awesome power? Does he help the poor? Feed the hungry? Promote world peace? Nope. He goes to the park and screws with random strangers, like making the big-boobed jogger run in her underwear or having the mime make obscene gestures at passers-by. That’s all fun and frolic until the cell phone, named Genie (Brandi Williams), becomes unduly attached to Walter, wants to become human and gets really, really jealous Agatha.
This concept has worked pretty well in the past (see the examples cited above), but Kanefsky does little more with it than use it as an excuse to stare at breasts over and over again, which would be much easier to take if more of the “comedy” were actually funny. But aside from an amusing nod to A Night at the Opera (with a romp in an overcrowded mattress taking the place of the famous stateroom scene) and jabs at cinematic clichés like cutaways to waterways and train tunnels during sex scenes, the laughs are few and far between. It doesn’t help at all that much of the action is accompanied by cartoon sound effects, which only serve to underscore just how desperately dry this well of humor really is.
Even the positive message buried well within Pretty Cool Too–that Walter would be better off forgetting society’s idea of the “perfect girl” and focusing on the girl who’d be perfect for him (i.e., Agatha)–is sorely undercut because he only realizes how beautiful she is when he sees her topless (actually, it’s just a computer simulation cooked up by Genie in an attempt to woo him). So…if he hadn’t seen Agatha’s lovely, natural figure, he’d have never realized how much he loved her? Great message, that.
With such a sparse script, the actors are left to try and make this movie interesting, but most of them aren’t up to the task. Julia Lehman is easily the standout in the cast, making Agatha truly sweet, engaging and, yeah, genuinely sexy; it would be fun to see her work with better material. There’s also Robert Donovan, as Walter’s befuddled father, does a pretty good impression of a ’50s sitcom dad.
They’re not nearly enough to save Pretty Cool Too, though. No one could really do that.

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