Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous (2008)
Simpson packing major guns
What do you get when you give a blonde bombshell some live ammunition? You get one of the most heartwarming, original and inspiring comedies this reviewer has ever seen. This week I’ll be taking a look at Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous which sees Jessica Simpson go from A-lister to enlister.
In Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous, Simpson portrays Megan Valentine, a pampered young lady who has been a star since she was a child. She is completely out of touch with the real world, relying on her agent, manager and personal assistant to tell her what to do, where to be, etc. Yet she seems to be living a charmed life – she’s a multi-millionaire, has a movie star boyfriend, and a beautiful home.
Almost all at once, Ms. Valentine’s world comes crashing down. Her agent Sidney (played by 1980s legend Steve Guttenberg) informs her that her cousin has been embezzling from her, and that she is now penniless and homeless. When she goes to see her manager Nigel about this whole mess, she catches him in bed with her boyfriend Derek! Apparently Derek has been using his sham relationship with Valentine to further his career. Things go from bad to worse when a drunken Valentine crashes her car after witnessing this betrayal.
Valentine flees the scene, and happens upon an army recruiting centre. Tired of being told who she should be, she decides to be all that she can be, and enlists. From the get-go, Valentine rubs everyone the wrong way by whining and complaining, wanting to go back to a life of pedicures and facials. Eventually though, she wins over her most ardent detractors by being so gosh darned charming, and turning into a solider so competent that John Rambo would be ashamed of himself – and not just because of the disappointment that was Rambo 2.
Simpson really shines as Megan Valentine. I got the sense at certain points that this was an autobiographical film. Valentine is a young, pretty actress, yearning to be taken seriously, but stuck in silly films – that sounds a bit like Simpson to me. Thankfully with this film, Simpson finally landed the prized role that we all knew she was capable of handling. Parallels can certainly also be drawn between Valentine’s controlling manager Nigel, and Simpson’s father Joe. One has to wonder if Simpson ever walked in on her daddy trying to penetrate his way into the end zone of her former beau, Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo.
Simpson is supported by a wonderful cast, most notable are Cheri Oteri (best known from her SNL days as a cheerleader with Will Ferell), and Guttenberg. As mentioned earlier, Guttenberg is a legend. With roles in Police Academy 1 through 4, and Three Men and a Baby, Guttenberg was huge a mere 20 years ago. He was bigger than George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon combined. With more roles like this, he soon will be able to make that claim again.
Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous is a great film no doubt; however, it did not do well at the box office. In fact, it was only released theatrically in Russia and Bulgaria. That is why I always say that Bulgarian cinema is light-years ahead of its North American counterpart. Good news though, if you are one of the lucky individuals who has access to a DVD player, you can enjoy this in the comfort of your own home.
If the army is looking to recruit young people (and rumour is that they are), I cannot think of a finer recruiting tool than this film. Seeing the confidence and maturity that Valentine garners over her stay in boot camp is truly inspiring. Many years ago, a song by Edwin Starr posed the question “War, what is it good for?” The answer is finally here – it is good for giving us top flight entertainment like Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous.