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Movie Review: All I Wanna Do

A fight almost broke out in the lobby after the movie. It seemed all one moviegoer wanted to do was pound the shit out of the guy working the ticket counter.

It was the theater’s fault. Every listings section of every NYC magazine, newspaper and Internet site listed the 12 Noon matinee as DIVINE TRASH, the documentary about John Waters (previously reviewed on the Underground Film Journal). I only knew ALL I WANNA DO was playing because I had been at the theater, Two Boots’ Pioneer Theater on 3rd St. and Ave. A in Manhattan, a couple days earlier to see THE LIFESTYLE, a documentary about middle-aged swingers, and I had picked up a flyer about it. I half expected to be the only person at the screening because when I went to double-check that the movie was playing in the newspaper and on hollywood.com, ALL I WANNA DO wasn’t listed. But I also did call the theater before I left the house that morning and their machine confirmed that the movie was indeed playing.

After ALL I WANNA DO, I was standing in the lobby reading a review of the flick from the Toronto Star (or something like that) on a poster. Everyone else was leaving, except for this older gentleman who remarked to the theater worker: “I can’t believe everyone’s leaving and not staying for the John Waters movie.”

The worker replied, “Well, it’s not a double-feature.”

To which the customer replied, “But when I bought my ticket you said there were two movies.”

To counter this, the worker grabbed a copy of the flyer that showed ALL I WANNA DO WAS playing at Noon. Then, the customer pulled a copy of the newspaper listings from his bag.

The worker had a good comeback: “But you stayed for the entire movie. Why did you stay if it wasn’t what you wanted to see?”

By now the customer was yelling pretty loud, “What was I supposed to do?” he yelled. “You told me there were two movies!”

I was already pissed at the theater myself. While doing my laundry earlier in the morning, I had eaten a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. Then, I had to leave my apartment before 11AM to make sure I got to the movie on time. This didn’t leave me much time to get lunch and I knew the bagel wasn’t going to hold me over through the flick. So, I had decided my “lunch” would be a bag of popcorn. But of course since it was so early and this was the first movie of the day, they hadn’t made the popcorn yet. My “lunch” then consisted of four Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The Pioneer’s a cool new theater in NYC showing independent films, but they need a new dude to open the place early on Sunday. This jerk was a real dingleberry. I don’t know what the outcome was because I left, but the theater was in the wrong since it put out bogus information. I don’t care if the guy stayed for the wrong movie or not, he deserved to stay for DIVINE TRASH.

Then what royally sucked was after the movie was I was seriously jonesin’ for some Mr. Softee ice cream, you know, one of those soft-serve ice cream trucks that parks alongside the curb and plays that nerve-jangling cutesy kid music. It must have been 70 degrees out, a brilliantly bright sunny day and not a single goddamn one Mr. Softee truck. I expect to read in the newspaper that Mayor Giuliani has banned the ice cream trucks because they’re a traffic menace or some nonsense.

So, I had to settle for some frozen yogurt instead. It was alright. I think I got peanut butter flavor. I don’t know what it was, but fate was forcing me to have peanut butter snacks this day. This chick I sit next to at work said to me the other day, “I think peanut butter should be its own food group.” I agree with her.

It’s a real shame the Pioneer screwed up with its listings, too, because ALL I WANNA DO was a damn cool flick which I’m sure hardly anybody’s going to see and that’ll be a shame. It stars five cute teenage chicks, Kirsten Dunst, Gabby Hoffman, Rachel Leigh Cook, Monica Keena and Heather Matarazzo, and the title would seem to imply that “all they wanna do” is get their brains screwed out, but all they really wanna do is become strong, independent women. This is probably the first truly feminist teen sex comedy. With mindless fluff like AMERICAN PIE and its seemingly endless imitators, ALL I WANNA DO is a tough sell. But it really deserves a chance.

It’s not a perfect film and it took me a while to warm up to it. It started out all cutesy and obnoxious, but by the end of the flick I was cheering and getting teary at the same time. The movie it reminds me of the most is John Waters’ HAIRSPRAY which starts out as a screwball comedy but then slyly and subtly transforms into an intelligent look at racism in the ’60s. While not about racism, ALL I WANNA DO presents us with four chicks at an all-girl academy in the ’60s who expect more out of life after graduation than just becoming housewives as was expected of them at the time. Most of the girls want to get laid, too, but there needs to be the sex plot in order to make the feminist message seem not so heavy-handed and overwrought.