"Madonna is sexy and funny - a very engaging comedian" Vincent Canby - New York Time
So when I was thinking about contributing to Nat’s Action Heroine Blog-a-thon, my initial reaction was to do Madonna in “Who’s That Girl”.
This never saw fruition as I felt it was stretching the subject but also because I did not own the DVD to watch it again.
Now I do.
I tentatively put it into my DVD player and prepared to cringe, thinking my memory was completely made up, fake memories downloaded to make me think Madonna had real comedic gifts.
I did cringe.
The movie is terrible, but it is not Madge’s fault at all. In fact she is the one thing that saves it and in fact, makes the whole thing watchable.
I know every single critic panned it on it’s initial release, and I am not saying this is a revelation of a comedic performance. What it is, is a dedicated one.
She has totally invested herself in the role, getting into the skin, albeit shallow skin, of the thinly written character. She changed her walk, her mannerisms, even her accent to portray Nikki Finn, ex con freshly out of jail for a crime she didn’t commit and looking to clear her name. Upper class executive, Loudon Trott (Griffin Dunne) is assigned (for reasons that become clear later) to be her escort to the bus that will take her home. Of course that doesn’t happen as planned.
The whole film is supposed to be a throw back to the great screwball comedies of the past, and while the film fails by trying to be too out there, and setting up too many hurdles and ‘funny’ set pieces, it has it's best moments when Madonna is on screen.
Honestly it is true.
She is charismatic, cute, and frequently hysterical in this. Nothing ever felt forced, even when she had some of the most dire lines to say, she managed to make them work for the character.
So why did VERY few critics see this at the time?
The film came out in a time when she started to get a lot of harsh critical reaction. Lets face it, when stars rise there comes a point in their career where the media does everything in their power to help them crash and burn while filming and snapping pictures. This is never more true than it is today, but Madonna as basically gone through this her whole career (25 years peeps!)
I am sure every journalist was looking to thrash the sh*t out of her for her performance in “Who’s That Girl”. And boy did they, but it was completely unfair when you look back at it.
Perhaps if the critics had seen the potential that lay in the performance and encouraged it, she would have approached her other roles with the same determination she did this.
Sure "Evita" and "A League of Their Own" were successes, but there is an ease to her performance in this movie, a total lack of vanity. Here her face moves differently, and her whole body language is different as if (SHOCK!! GASP!!) you are watching some one other than Madonna.
I know this will be met with A LOT of laughs, but I urge you to just check out the movie and take a look at her, there was so much potential in her as an actress.
Yes she has mainly failed when it comes to film work, but there are moments like this where she showed that she had true potential. If you don’t believe me check out her stint on “Coffee Talk”. (remember live TV is HARD)
The woman has comedic gifts. Although she was almost upstaged by her eyebrows.