Perfume

  • 2001
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

This expose of Manhattan's fashion scene aspires to biting drama, but it's undermined by L. M. Kit Carson and director Michael Rymer's trite screenplay. On the eve of her annual fashion show, entrepreneurial Roberta (Rita Wilson) learns that her in-house designer, Camille (Leslie Mann), may be planning to defect to a mass-market monolith. Jamie (Jeff Goldblum),...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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This expose of Manhattan's fashion scene aspires to biting drama, but it's undermined by L. M. Kit Carson and director Michael Rymer's trite screenplay. On the eve of her annual fashion show, entrepreneurial Roberta (Rita Wilson) learns that her in-house designer, Camille (Leslie Mann), may be planning to defect to a mass-market monolith. Jamie (Jeff Goldblum), who represents his own world-famous clothing line, is wooing Camille both personally and professionally, but worries about losing her to his backer, Philip (Harris Yulin). Meanwhile, other crises are brewing. Renowned photographer Pete (Hunter Carson, the son of L.M. Kit Carson and actress Karen Black) popularized heroin chic, but now he's hearing that his style is passe. At the House of Lorenzo, gravely ill Lorenzo (Paul Sorvino) hopes to reconcile with his estranged son, Mario (Michael Sorvino, Paul's son in real life), before cancer overtakes him. Harried, driven magazine editor Janice (Joanne Baron) offers Peter a chance to re-invent himself with a celebrity shoot. In the midst of her professional travails, Janice finds herself confronted by the teenage daughter she abandoned years earlier. As agents massage the egos of models and rival couturiers jockey for position, the major players face the limitations of their talent and integrity. Roberta rediscovers her own flair for couture design; Lorenzo broadens his traditional business to accommodate his son's contemporary rap-influenced line; Camille ponders her decision to become a brand name and Peter refuses to placate Janice's ambitious assistant, Darcy (Mariska Hargitay), at the expense of his artistic vision to. Each fashion-world victory marks another defeat in the personal lives of these protagonists, who live through their work. Like Robert Altman's 1994 READY TO WEAR (PRET-A-PORTER), this smartly cast ensemble piece trips over its own runway superficiality. Rymer mimics Altman's overlapping dialogue, but even half-understood conversations need to carry some weight for the jaded characters, as well as for cynical viewers. Otherwise, who cares?

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: R
  • Review: This expose of Manhattan's fashion scene aspires to biting drama, but it's undermined by L. M. Kit Carson and director Michael Rymer's trite screenplay. On the eve of her annual fashion show, entrepreneurial Roberta (Rita Wilson) learns that her in-house d… (more)

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