Amazonian shrunken head — check, African tribal mask — check, dorky white guy — check. Wait, what? These things don’t go together.
Lea Thompson plays hooker Sylvia Vane. She is tired of hanging out with her pimp and her hooker friend who is even more obnoxious than the pimp. Across the street, she sees a successful man getting out of a limo — Goodwin from Lost — and decides it is time to make some changes.
To get some quick cash, she pulls out pistol, pwns her pimp, pawns his jewelry. In the pawn shop, she sees an veiled crone barge in and take a swing at the pawnbroker.
The pawnbroker suspects the jewelry is stolen, but makes her another offer. He will give her $10,000 cash to make a mold of her face, or “beauty” as he says. Like any item left in his shop, she has 4 months to reclaim it. She agrees, and he begins ladling goo on her face to create a plaster mask.
Oh, and he keeps a casket in the backroom with his dead, withered husk of a wife. But Lea didn’t see that, so no reason for her to be at all suspicious of this Randy Quaid lookalike offering her big money to put goo on her face. Probably not a first for her; not even that day.
Lea de-tarts herself, washing off the make-up, getting a new-doo, removing that thing on her cheek, spitting out the gum, toning down the lipstick, and dumping the hookerwear. She then goes on a shopping spree for new clothes which are far sexier than her hooker uniform. I don’t understand why hookers don’t get how unsexy their clothes are. And how they never have correct change. Sadly, she does not change the single most repulsive thing about her — that god-awful accent.
Lea crashes Goodwin’s party and introduces herself as “Sylvia Vane, as in weather vane.” He introduces himself as “Ronnie Price, as in everyone has theirs.” This is a little jarring because they were clearly going for symmetry here, but completely missed the target; maybe twice. OK, she’s vain, we get it. Why bring up a weather vane? He is presumed to be shallow and greedy, thus the “price” comment. So his name is fitting, whereas hers is just a homonym. Plus, I don’t see any real signs that he’s a bad guy, and it isn’t necessary for the story. In fact, in this kind of story, he should be a good guy to make her sins even worse.
Title card, predictably: “4 months later”.
Taking a bubble bath, she notices some lines on her face in the mirror. I couldn’t really detect anything hideous viewing the DVD. I’m not sure how visible it was on an RCA set 25 years ago.
The next morning, it is more detectable, although it really just looks like she is wearing no make-up. Presumably later the same day, she goes to a dermatologist. The condition is now very prominent as lines on her face, and she has started wearing a black veil. Maybe the subtle onset gave her condition more credibility. The ramp-up, combined with subtly of the make-up make this aged face much more effective than the older Lorraine McFly.
The doctor jogs her memory about the deal she made 4 months ago, and she returns to the pawnshop. She confronts the pawnbroker, but it has been 4 months and 1 day. However, he can make an exception for a mere $100,000.
She loots Goodwin’s apartment. He catches her, but her condition has worsened so much that he does not recognize her. He calls the police to report a burglar, and she goes all Ana Lucia on him. I understand she is a little on edge, but she puts 12 slugs in him? What did he do wrong?
Lea manages to scrape together $100k of cash and jewels and high-tails it back to the pawnshop. It is locked, but she is in no mood for that. She breaks in and sees the pawnbroker’s wife.
The pawnbroker says he can give her beauty back if that is what she reallllly wants. But he produces a newspaper with the headline, “Playboy Iced by Gold Digger” and her picture, which was published quicker than the Oswald story in New Zealand.
A cop comes in, and she overhears him telling the pawnbroker they found the murder weapon with fingerprints matching a set they already had on file for soliciting. There is no going back to that identity. Lea steals the plaster model of her face, although what she can do with it is not clear.
In a city of 10 million, her former obnoxious hooker friend (former friend, still obnoxious) rudely bumps into her, knocking the mask from her hands. Then we get a very out-of-place crane shot of the four corners of this intersection, and a LOT of extras. It really looks like maybe this location was set up for a movie and HBO just asked if they could borrow it for a minute.
As the camera rises from Lea picking up the fractured shards of her beauty, we cut back to the Cryptkeeper, who actually looks kind of hot relative to the disgusting women in this episode.
I rate this girl a 7.
- Written by Fred Dekker who also wrote And All through the House.
- Lea Thompson got off to a great start in movies. Back to the Future was her 5th movie, coming after Jaws 3D, All the Right Moves, Red Dawn and The Wild Life. She strategically leveraged this career momentum to score the non-titular lead in Howard the Duck.
- Not that there’s anything wrong with Lea Thompson, but she really wasn’t pretty enough to believably seduce Goodwin from across the room. The uncredited blonde he was talking to when Lea crashed the party was much hotter. And certainly when Goodwin heard Lea’s accent, that should have sent him running back to [uncredited blonde].
- OK, I know why they never have correct change.