Hippo Manchester
September 1, 2005


   Home Page

   Hippo Nashua

 News & Features



 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note



 Pop Culture




   CD Reviews
   DVD Reviews




   Grazing Guide



   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts




 Find A Hippo




   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad




 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

Undiscovered (PG-13)
by Amy Diaz

A group of 20somethings makes me want to beat them senseless in the aggravatingly bad Undiscovered.

You know the mall? You know how you hate to go there because of the roaming packs of teenagers and those panhandler-like Nextel salespeople, but that’s where the jeans are so you go? And you’re there and it’s not so bad and you’re able to get in, run your errands and you almost convince yourself that it’s not so bad. But then, you’re at a clothing store maybe or, god forbid, you’ll try to buy coffee or something and the sales person will, in a two-minute encounter, completely embody every horrible stereotype of people a generation younger than you. You know that feeling? Of irritation mingled with disgust mingled with embarrassment due to the realization that you were probably once that bad? That pretty much sums up my state throughout this whole movie.

Except, and I don’t care how many photos of me in tight-rolled jeans and scary bangs you have, I refuse to believe I was ever as glass-splinter-under-your-fingernail painful as Ashlee Simpson. With her big cow-eyes and her faux Pat Benatar haircut and a series of hats, each worse than the previous one, Simpson is a black hole of awfulness that seems to grow over time and suck in more of the movie. Too brunette to play the lead in this achingly amateurish tale of young love, Simpson somehow manages to make her supporting character a shining beacon of godawful even amongst her talentless costars. She turns bad lyrics into noises you would use to torture prisoners, she recites lousy dialogue as though she learned English yesterday, phonetically, and has no idea what she’s saying or where to put the inflection.

On the other hand, perhaps Simpson should be applauded for her crappiness — it is, at least, a performance worthy of note, even if that note is snarky and hate-filled. Pell James and Steven Strait, the movie’s two leads, are forgettable even while they are on screen.  James plays a character I’ll simply call Girl — she’s a model/actress who begins her adventures in New York City. She gets on a subway and first spots Boy (Strait). He gives her his gloves as a sign of everlasting devotion and then the doors close and the train leaves, as does Boy, for Los Angeles.

Two years later, Boy, a singer-songwriter (or, to be more accurate, a “singer-songwriter”), is slaving away as the house band for a small club and Girl is newly arrived in L.A. to try her hand at acting. They meet through horrible mutual friend Ashlee Simpson (who compares Boy to Jeff Buckley meets Elvis Costello — sure, if that person then met a brain-removing injury and a bag of screeching cats). Then they spend the slowest hour-and-20-minute period of my entire life slowly deciding that they should date. Glaciers move faster than these people. Perhaps their romance is stalled by each realizing that the other is dumber than the lead paint chips they clearly ingested as children.

The rancid, worm-infested cherry on the top of this sour, moldy dessert is the presence of Carrie Fisher playing the part of Girl’s agent. Dear god, does she get nothing from all those Princess Leia action figures? Shouldn’t she be able to pay for whatever pricey habit she must have without resorting to this? I can only hope for her sake and for her place in the pop culture pantheon that Undiscovered remains exactly that.