Thursday, September 28, 2006
Hard Candy: Not All That Hard, Really
In which V has seen a supposedly controversial film and found it to be boring and tame.

So I've been hearing a lot about this Hard Candy film. In a nutshell: a man meets up with a 14 year old girl who flirted with him in a chat room. They go back to his place. And then it all gets weird. Supposedly he's this evil pedophile, and she's this young victim. Or is she? Turns out she has some kind of twisted vengeance thing going on and she set him up. I got the impression that this film was supposed to be serious and disturbing and Really Had A Message About Things, etc.

So. Yeah. Okay. I watched Hard Candy, expecting to be disturbed. That was my first mistake. Experience tells me that I should never expect to be disturbed. Not when I've seen films like Scrapbook, wherein a girl gets abducted and peed on (really for real pee, not special effects pee) and then stuffed in a vat of spoilt milk and left in the hot sun. And while I realize that maybe only 10 people in the whole world have seen Scrapbook (or would even WANT to see it) it's an example of the kind of disgusting films I've seen.

So already the bar for being disturbing is set pretty high. Hard Candy would have to really make an effort to disturb me. But it doesn't make a real effort to disturb ANYONE. Even my mom could watch this, and not understand what all the fuss was about.

So what are the problems with this film? Well, I'll tell you.

Problem Number One: The Girl

Okay, she did look young, I'll give her that. But she also looked like a boy. So much so that I was convinced that it would turn out to be the big plot twist. OMG YOU THINK I'M A LITTLE GIRL BUT REALLY I AM A LITTLE BOY OMG SICK. But, um, no. She was really a girl, just not a very convincing one.

On top of that, she had this irritating voice, and a weird halting cadence to her speech. I didn't like hearing her talk. And she didn't talk like a 14 year old. I guess part of the whole point of it was that she really WAS older and was just setting a trap. But she talked like a college professor. I really just wanted to slap her. More than that (and herein is a big flaw in the film), I really wanted the guy to kill her. Beat her up, molest her, whatever. Just do horrible things to her and kill her. Because I didn't like her. And M didn't like her either, so it's not just me being weird.

It's a real problem when your protagonist pisses people off.

Problem Number Two: It was boring
This film was 103 minutes long, according to the IMDB. I'd estimate that 90 minutes of that was just two people talking (and one of them had a voice that could curdle milk). That leaves 13 minutes of action, and that's being generous. The girl gets kicked in the head (hurrah!). There's some running around. But that's about all.

What is shocking about two people talking? NOTHING.

It's not as if they were talking about how much he liked to touch little girls, either. It was more like this:

Girl: You like to touch little girls, don't you?
Man: No! I swear! Let me go!
Girl: I'm going to tell everyone that you touch little girls.
Man: Please! No!
Girl: Maybe I will cut off your balls as well.

Which brings me to...

Problem Number Three: The only remotely shocking thing in the film doesn't actually happen.

There's going to be a spoiler here, people. So if you don't want an already boring film made even more boring by knowing what's going to happen, stop reading now.

So yeah, the girl decides that she's going to cut off the pedo's balls. She comes up with this whole unbelievable story about how her dad teaches at med school and she gets to sit in on classes, and she has a textbook here and she's going to castrate him.

And she goes through this whole tedious scene of castrating him while he's tied to a table and his crotch has been numbed with ice. And he's watching it on a TV monitor because she's so thoughtfully filming it for his viewing pleasure. And there's some more clever dialogue along the lines of:

Girl: You know, castration is one of the easiest operations.
Girl: I am cutting your balls off now and there is nothing you can do about it.
Girl: Haha, you can never pee in public again.
Man: (SOB)

And then it turns out she didn't really do anything. She leaves the room and he gets his hands free and realizes he still has all of his bits and pieces, and she was just playing a video of someone else's filmed castration (!?) and she had some fake blood or something and maybe I guess pig testicles that she put in a dish.

Um. What's the point, then? Oh no! Pedo Man has ten minutes of psychological torture, only to then find out it was one big PSYCH!

This film was so tedious that I can't remember what happened next. There was more dialogue, and some running around. At the end, she makes him kill himself. Is that supposed to be shocking? As shocking as getting for-real peed on and shoved in a vat of spoilt milk? I mean, how often do you see people really getting peed on in the movies? Not often! And certainly not in Hard Candy!

I don't think I'd recommend this for any reason. Not only is it totally NOT controversial, it's not even interesting. I don't even think it made any kind of social statement about internet pedos. You ended up just really wanting them BOTH to die and for the film to be over.