Not Dumb Enough
High Heels & Lowlifes
Review by Ross Anthony

Two best friends go head to head with rough bank robbers after accidentally learning of their crime. One nurse and one American actress polish their tough thug speak as they blackmail the real bad guys with bluster and cuss words in this British romp.

Hip-hoppy and crisp, the film seems to be putting forth effort towards comedy ... but I laughed out loud only once (though, admittedly I smiled at least a few times). Possibly I missed their humor. A mention of the film "Charlie's Angels" hints "High Heels" may be striving for that kind of action/humor. Why they miss I'm not quite sure, could be just that the bits ain't funny. Could be that the object of their spoof isn't clear. Personally, I think this premise could have worked if our protagonists were not so "real" or "smart" ... they need to be stupid. Why did "Dumb and Dumber" work? or "Corky Romano?" or "Bill and Ted?" Because these people are clearly imbeciles. When they make totally idiotic decisions ... we're not surprised, or insulted, we just laugh at them.

But, put normal people in situations where their decisions don't compute ... we don't laugh ... we narrow our eyes.

A two-minute multi-screen sequence of our heroes rendezvousing with the bad guys at the train station falls far from the mark. Where was the mark? Were they spoofing a spoof?

(Also, in my particular screening ... the sound levels were way too high; this annoyance could have skewed my opinion.)

That said, I enjoyed the filmmakers' attention to detail, always opening a scene on a specific unique event to get the audience guessing. I particularly enjoyed one detail shot of the most menacing thug relaxing on the sofa with a huge wall display of automatic weapons behind him as he enjoys "Pomp and Circumstance" played at full volume. The contrast of classical music and guns strikes that oddball humor I think they may have been going for all along. Additionally, this scene sets up the only big laugh ... to come later in the film. Minnie and Mary (good friends off screen as well as on) both give fine performances. They keep the ball rolling, never boring, but seldom electric.

  • High Heels & Lowlifes. Copyright © 2001. Rated R (But it's a very tame R).
  • Starring Minnie Driver, Mary McCormack, Kevin McNally, Danny Dyer.
  • Directed by Mel Smith.
  • Written by Kim Fuller.
  • Produced by Uri Fruchtmann, Barnaby Thompson at Touchstone.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:08:55 PDT