Virtual Girl
Director: Richard Gabai

S1MONE. 2002
Director: Andrew Niccol

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Virtual Girl is a stinky, stinky, stinky direct to video cheapy. A computer geek designing a porno virtual reality video is seduced inside the program by a willful imaginary bimbo, which at first he thinks is pretty hot stuff, until the AI turns out to have its own evil agenda. Never trust a girl who thinks for herself!

The screenwriter's gynophobia is all that shows in this bunghole of a movie. No one in the story ever comes alive. Bad soundtrack & pathetic CGI FX for the virtual sex realm intensifies the arch crappiness.

S1mOneThe same story was done much, much better as S1mOne starring Al Pacino as a film producer looking for the perfect & perfectly controllable starlet who'll revitalize his own career without her own needs & ego getting in the way of his needs & ego.

Simone, or Simulation One (Rachel Roberts), exists only as an AI program, which fact the producer conspires to hide so that everyone will believe Simone is a real person.

She becomes the iconic diva worshipped by the public as Pacino orchestrates the public persona of the imaginary actress.

But when the AI becomes as willful as a real girl, Pacino's world is more threatened than ever.

S1mOne successfully lampoons the shallow & phony world of media hype & the cult of superstars. Even though S1mOne makes the same sexist assumptions of the dreary Virtual Girl, it is vastly more self-aware of what it is doing, satirizing rather than embracing misogyny, resulting in an entertaining amusement without losing the fantasy sexiness of the premise.

It's by no means a perfect film, as it is sometimes minimalist in its look & slow in its pacing, making the viewer ancy. And the aging Pacino is frankly not the actor he once was. He is so "important" (or so self-important) that directors either cannot or will not control him sufficiently to get credible performances. As too often happens, he takes his character over the top like a spastic monkey throwing itself from one side of the stage to the other thumping its chest & grunting violently, totally getting in the way of the story while demanding all attention for himself alone. This like so many of his performances gives nothing to other actors, so that in the end no one really shines.

Because it isn't a serious film Pacino does not actually ruin it; his tackiness was in this case somewhat appropriate, & Rachel Roberts does mage to get around his antics to present her character adequately. But if Pacino could try to create subtler more believable characters instead of overacting in the exact same manner film after film, he might now & then recapture that lost greatness of his early work.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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