In the Cut: Another to Cut Out
Phil Davetas
11/8/2003 4:24:06 PM

Famous-sex-starved-women-in-peril movies have a limit. Which famous celeb are they gonna pay to take it all off this time? In this case, it’s Meg Ryan. Usually, a fledgling nude scene takes place in the early part of one’s career; otherwise it costs a bunch of money because the filmmakers get the added bonus of scandal. The scandal in question: Meg, Dennis and Russell. The bad PR left in the wake of her last movies has so damaged Ryan’s image that her last flick, Against the Ropes, was pulled from its spring release to accompany this neurotic thriller. The good news is: how can it be worse than Gigli?

In the Cut is the dramatic journey of a very lonely woman, more than an erotic exertion or a murder mystery. In fact, the murder mystery takes so much of a backseat that it’s practically nonexistent. Even though Meg is palpably naked, the movie is thin on erotica. And for the guys and lesbians: although, Meg is naked a lot, keep in mind that she’s getting older and her parts aren’t holding up as well as they once did. In the Cut is well-photographed (all hand-held from the opening to last frames) and directed, but nothing can be said about Meg Ryan’s acting talents. It’s not that she’s horrible. She says the lines the way she’s supposed to; but the view is left not caring. Neither is her character complicated enough to stay with for two hours. Mark Ruffalo does a great job of playing this mysterious and vulgar cop and part-time lover, but overacts the role of a would-be killer and you won’t buy it for a second.

The gimmick is that there’s killer on the loose dismembering women and placing varying body parts all over town. Meg thinks she’s getting beavered up by the killer, but she’s so addicted to his penis that she doesn’t care until the killer is after her. And who are the suspects? Her student who’s doing a research paper on John Wayne Gacy; her lover whom she thought she saw getting a blowjob in the bar’s lavatory; her ex-obsessed lover; or some unknown maniac. But in lame thrillers like this, it’s always someone who is introduced in the beginning and only shows up to suddenly act all crazy in the third act.

So who is this movie made for? It’s not for the Saturday night popcorn mystery-thriller audience. It’s not for the erotica crowd. It’s not for the high brow gourmet cinema crowd. Truthfully, it’s all for the see-Meg-Ryan-naked crowd. See Meg masturbate. See Meg get dark. See Meg cradle a decapitated head. See Meg try and act. See Meg try to save her career. There are better reasons to see a movie. There are better reasons to make them.

In the Cut (1 ½ out of Four)
R, 2003, 118 min., Screen Gems.

Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kevin Bacon, Nick Damici, Sharrieff Pugh, Music by Hilmer Örn Hilmersson, Produced by Laurie Parker and Nicole Kidman, Written by Jane Campion and Susanna Moore, Based on the Novel By Susanna Moore and Directed by Jane Campion.

The Perils of Famous Sex-starved Women:

Uncovered, U-Turn, Exotica, The Hunger, Killing Me Softly, The Maze, Dangerous Beauty, The Tailor of Panama, Carlito’s Way, White Sands, Exit to Eden, Angel Eyes, Fire on the Amazon, Normal Life, The Human Stain, Fatal Attraction, 9 ½ Weeks, Sex and the Other Man, Kate’s Addiction, Night at the Blue Iguana, Gia, Captives, The Sheltering Sky, Never Talk to Strangers, After Dark My Sweet, Love Crimes, Dream Lover, Bolero, Basic Instinct, Showgirls, Bound, Devil’s Advocate, All-American Murder, Holy Smoke!, Reindeer Games, Angel Heart…


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