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SINGLE WHITE FEMALE

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Jan. 11, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: Another film that lodged itself into the zeitgeist was this one, though not to the same degree as one of its main inspirations, ‘Fatal Attraction.’ I wasn’t a fan but this one retains enough popularity for The Shout! Factory to give it a Blu-ray upgrade. So here’s my review, published in the Deseret News on Aug. 14, 1992.

Considering how often critics complain about there being so few showcases for actresses in leading roles these days, it almost feels hypocritical to have to knock the rare efforts that do come along.

But, as with "Death Becomes Her" and especially "Whispers in the Dark," the new thriller "Single White Female" is quite disappointing, despite its two strong female leads.

A by-the-numbers shocker, "Single White Female" has Bridget Fonda kicking her boyfriend out of her rent-controlled New York apartment when she finds that he's been cheating with his ex-wife. But she's insecure and lonely, so she advertises in the classifieds for a roommate (hence, the title), and winds up with mousy Jennifer Jason Leigh.

     

'Single White Female' begins with a cheery outlook for roomies Bridget Fonda, left, and Jennifer Jason Leigh ... 

At least she's mousy when the film begins, but it isn't long before Leigh is showing her true psychotic colors. And it doesn't help that Fonda makes up with her boyfriend and Leigh thinks she might have to move out after she's barely settled in.

It isn't enough that Leigh becomes possessive and demanding and starts taking over bits and pieces of Fonda's life. Soon, Leigh is wearing clothes and even changing her physical appearance to resemble Fonda.

Meanwhile, Fonda has to put up with a male chauvinist jerk who hires her computer fashion-design business only to reveal more sinister motives.

This latter subplot, with its sexual-harassment elements, feels like a forced attempt to be up-to-the-minute with current headlines. But even if it felt profound or important it wouldn't help the rest of the film, which is mired in horror clichés and suspense button-pushing.

     

... but things go downhill fast when Leigh, left, develops a psychopathic obssession for the life that Fonda has.

All of this escalates in its level of ridiculousness until there are unintentional laughs attending a new use for stiletto heels and a chase through Fonda's tenement building, which never seems to have any tenants in sight.

"Single White Female" does deserve to be congratulated for its one cliché-busting moment. Instead of the killer rising from the dead, this film has a murder victim rising from the dead. Ah, progress.

"Single White Female" is rated a very hard R for considerable sex and nudity in addition to the expected violence and gore. There is also some profanity.