Reviewed by Rhonda Gilbertson
Rating: 8.5 Beans
aving seen this movie in my early, impressionable teen years, I thought taking a second look as an adult would be great material for a Bad Movie Night review. Indeed. Rhinestone exceeded even MY worst expectations, and bear in mind, this is a repeat viewing on my part.
First off, I have to say that I like Dolly Parton. I loved her in 9 to 5, adored her in Steel Magnolias, but there's no way she could save this tragically unfortunate movie. Worse, she lays on the "Country Girl" schtick so heavily that I found myself fighting to recall WHY I liked her in the first place. As country nightclub singer Jake, her goal in this movie is to win back her contract from the club's sleazy owner Freddie, played by Ron Leibman (Night Falls on Manhattan). Freddie makes her a bet: if she can turn some Joe from the streets into a new "country-western singing sensation", she wins her contract back. If she fails, Freddie keeps her contract and gets to know her a bit better, if you catch my drift.
Enter Nick Martinelli, played by Sylvester Stallone, who surely must have been high to have thought he could take on this role. He drives his demolished taxicab up to the curb where Jake and Freddie are looking for prospective Joes, and does a double-take at Dolly's figure, completely losing his train of thought. Ye gads.
Now Dolly's mission is to transform Sly into a viable country singer who won't be chewed up and spit out by the tough crowd at Freddie's club. In order to do this, she feels it's best to take him back home with her from New York to Tennessee. I suppose I can imagine why being in Tennessee would make it somewhat easier to learn country music, but I'm obviously missing how learning to ride a horse/cow/other farm animal has ANYTHING to do with country music.
Dolly is nothing if not a tyrant in her teaching methods, dragging Sly through the countryside, introducing him to the various charming aspects of down-home life, and taking him to see her father's band, singing a song whose lyrics seem to consist entirely of the phrase "Too much water, just too wide." Eventually Sly gets to take the microphone himself, and the results are enough to send the town's canine life scrambling for cover. I knew exactly how they felt.
To put it kindly, Stallone has NO singing ability whatsoever. I would love to say that part of the problem is the material Dolly has him singing (one particularly painful number is titled "Drinkingstein"), but sadly enough, he manages to make a disaster of "Old MacDonald", forgetting the words in the middle of it. To say his future in country music is far from bright is to make an understatement of staggering proportions. And as if his singing weren't tortuous enough, Dolly dresses him up in polyester suits that are so flamboyantly ugly, even Elvis would be embarrassed to be seen in them.
At one point, Sly gets fed up with Dolly's dictatorial teaching methods, and strikes out for the local bar, featuring local talent. Though I saw no sign of a karaoke machine on the premises, and actually saw a band accompanying the singer on stage, he must have hidden a chorus of backup singers in his pocket, or have amazing vocal abilities that the rest of us can only dream of. This odd phenomenon keeps popping up in the movie, which makes me wonder how expensive it could have possibly been to have hired a few extras to dance around with microphones and lip synch.
Upon their return to New York, Sly and Dolly experience some problems, mostly stemming from the fact that Sly thought he would make his new career as a country singer. He shows up at the club to sing his song minus Dolly, learns she must be at Freddie's paying up on her end of the bet, and he races out of the club, desperate to reach her and stop her from succumbing to Freddie's wily tricks. Suddenly, it's clear why Dolly taught him to ride a horse, since he has to steal one to get to Freddy's apartment. Aaah, it all makes sense to me now!
Of course, they patch things up, and haul off to the club, with Dolly warning all the while that Sly will have to make this debut without her help. Yet, inexplicably, she pops up on stage with him before his song his half over, which makes me want to scream, "Continuity!!" at the top of my lungs. Of course, he is well-received by the club's patrons, and all is saved for Dolly.
All in all, an incredibly tortuous movie. As if the premise wasn't bad enough, there were many bits of dialogue that failed to make any sense to me whatsoever, such as when Sly refers to his pouffy hairdo as a "home for wayward spiders". Huh? Then I checked the credits, and learned that Sly himself co-wrote the screenplay. Now that all the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place, I'll just go ahead and give the movie my rating...8.5 Beans, saved from the dreaded 10 Bean rating only because of Dolly's presence. It's so bad it's pretty amusing, so if you're looking for a Bad Movie Night rental, it doesn't get a lot better (or worse) than this!
"Bad Movie Night" is a presentation of
Hit-n-Run Productions, © 1997-2006,
a subsidiary of Syphon Interactive, LLC.
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