Sunday, December 7, 2008

May (Lucky McKee, 2002)

A freshly made facial wound and cascading doll parts open what has to be the best film about sewing I have ever seen. Stitched together with a cockeyed warmheartedness by writer-director Lucky McKee and an armada of talented editors, the fiendish May is a blistering sore on my cornea. A wonderfully impulsive tale about unorthodox companionship, the film is a sugar-coated delight that is twisted in all the right places. Exploring the burgeoning social life of an inexperienced young woman named May Canady (Angela Bettis), the unconventionally romantic film follows the shy animal hospital worker as she tries to acquire to right body parts. You know, in order to create the ultimate friend. Now, you're probably asking yourself: Why can't she meet people the old fashion way? Well, the bashful waif has come to the conclusion that people are somewhat put off by her aggravated brand of weirdness, and not to mention, Suzie, the dead-eyed doll who whispers ill-conceived dating advice to May, is starting to get on her nerves. So fabricating a companion out of the most appealing pieces of those in her neighbourhood is the only course of action that makes any sense. What sets the ghoulish pixie with the patchwork style down the path of uninvited cutting and stabbing are the hands of a Dario Argento-obsessed auto mechanic/budding filmmaker (Jeremy Sisto).

Boasting smooth music cues (an interesting hodgepodge of Deal sister-based indie rock and sinister-sounding choir music), the most original sewing montages, and the darkest sense of humour of any movie I have seen in quite some time, May is a rich tapestry of irregular pet care and flawed child rearing tactics. I loved the manner in which the film slowly worked its way towards its crazy finish.

Playing out like some sort of bizarre love triangle between a wild-eyed naif, a potential hand model and melon-eating lesbian, the film steadily grows stranger with every real and perceived slight. And because of this calculated build-up, May's unusual decision making may appear logical to the more oddball members of the audience.

I'm not really that odd (sometimes I literally ooze normality), but even I found myself nodding in agreement in reaction to some of May's odder choices. I think a lot of that complacency came from the fact that Angela Bettis is so brilliant as May. Giving a performance of breathless intensity and shifty nuance, the scrawny actress imbues her demented wallflower with a runny, yet uncontaminated aura; one that aroused an ill-sorted feeling of sympathy and scorn. I mean, whether she was chatting on the phone in the shower with her deceased cat, or helping visually impaired children enjoy the act of not touching creepy dolls that are locked in glass cases, Angela sells the living pus out of these scenes.

The film, as I have tried to point out, has lots going for it, but nothing beats the sight a brunette Anna Faris attempting to seduce the painfully shy May in the animal hospital's file room. Playing the most innately sexual character of her career, Anna is horniness on wheels as the sultry Polly, an adventurous lesbian who works as a receptionist at the aforementioned hospital. "Adventurous" because she seems open to new things (like self-mutilation) and "lesbian" because she likes to have sex with women.

There's so much to like about her performance and character, but I had to pinpoint a moment, you know, other than the classic "let's hang out and eat melons" line, I'd to say the instance where Polly tells May (while making a licking motion with mouth) that she has to "hit this" in reference to having sex with Ambrosia (Nichole Hiltz), her leggy lady friend. You see, I hate it when male humans say, "I'd hit that" (it's so crass and vulgar), but there's something definitely charming about a woman who says it.

video uploaded by UnclesBeans


  1. HR Pufnstuf. Hee hee. What the heck?

    So you're not really that odd, huh?

    Great review!

  2. Wait...I nominated H.R. Pufnstuf?!? I don't remember doing that. What a strange choice. Anyway, I hope the hipsters aren't being too cruel.

    Do you know if The Young and the Restless (circa 1990 version) was nominated? Now there's a theme that rocks.

    Nope, very normal.

    Thanks. :)

    Did you hear? Much Music canceled The New Music, the long running music show that got its start on City TV back in 1979. It's kinda sad. Oh, and Brave New Waves (est. 1984) got canned last year as well.

  3. I just didn't get this movie. I found it off-putting and depressing. Didn't care for it at all. I know a lot disagree, it just did nothing for me.

  4. Anna Faris plays a lesbian. What's there to get?

    Just kidding. I can totally see how one might find May off-putting.

  5. Hearty recommend for Gregg Araki's Smiley Face starring Anna Faris as a stoner chick, if you haven't seen it. Something a little different from the usual Nazi sex slaves and erotic robots and Gamma Gams and what-have-you.

    I posted 2 Anna GIFs and the trailer:

  6. I'm down with Smiley Face. In fact, I saw it at the TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) back in '07 (Gregg Araki was in attendance).

  7. You know, this one looks somewhat interesting but what I'm really wondering, since I have some pressing promotional needs, is this:

    Is Angela Bettis selling ad space on that forehead of hers or what?

  8. It's funny you should mention Angela's spacious forehead at this juncture, as I just finished an unnecessarily long dissertation that dutifully explores the ample size of Catriona MacColl's airstrip-esque forehead area in City of the Living Dead.

    1. Peter North could bust an entire nut on that forehead of Angela's and it'd dry before it got down to her eyebrows. Just saying.

      I glanced at her IMDb page -- she's from Austin. Figures.

  9. I think I understand what you mean. Even though Peter North is known for spewing a lot of sperm during orgasm, the largeness of Angela's forehead would be no match for his hearty load.