1.5 Stars
Year Released: 2006
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 90 minutes
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There is relatively little to recommend in “Notes on a Scandal” outside of watching Dame Judi Dench pretend to be a dyke and Cate Blanchett pretend to have sex with an underage teen boy. To skewer the classic song from “The Band Wagon”: that’s entertainment?

The Oscar-winning actresses play teachers in a rough London school. Dame Judi is the veteran no-nonsense history teacher, Blanchett is the new flighty art teacher. Blanchett winds up in a sexual relationship with one of her students (played by skinny 17-year-old Andrew Simpson). Dame Judi’s character, an acidic spinster (complete with cat) who views the world with a miserably cynical sneer, is both repulsed by her colleague’s indiscretion and insanely attracted by her blonde good looks. As you may well imagine, nothing good will come of this situation.

And nothing good comes of this film. The stars seem to be on auto-pilot, particularly Blanchett (who has rarely been so monochromatic). Director Richard Eyre and screenwriter Patrick Marber, adapting Zoe Heller’s novel, never find the psychodrama unbalance that should’ve made this a taut and disturbing dissection of human frailty in acute disruption and emotions gone amok. Philip Glass’ clumsy score is the musical equivalent of a sledgehammer, desperately reminding us that we’re watching scenes that are supposedly highly charged.

Sadly, the whole affair is little more than ennui with a pedigree.

Posted on December 28, 2006 in Reviews by

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