Love to Loathe Ya, Baby

Misogynist Neil LaBute tries to be nice--and fails--in Nurse Betty

Maybe it's time to admit that Neil LaBute, Art House Auteur, is something like Jim Carrey, Comic Genius, or Al Gore, Viable Candidate, or Christina Aguilera, Fascinating and Beautiful Girl. Somewhere along the line, somebody decided these concepts were plausible, marketable. Somewhere along the line, people needed a comic genius, a viable candidate, and a fascinating and beautiful girl. To paraphrase Woody Allen, success comes to those who show up (especially if they're white). So a few key people mistook LaBute's self-conscious style and confounding lack of vision for an actual vision. And then other people agreed that he was worth watching and discussing over wine spritzers and organic baby greens after the show.

Well, my friends and neighbors: We've been duped. Neil LaBute himself has nothing to be ashamed of--he does his job to make the best possible movies he can. But like Freeman's hit man fantasizing about his quarry, cineastes have pinned all kinds of wishful thinking on this guy. The depressing truth is that Neil LaBute just isn't that good.


One brain cell short of a pair: Renée Zellweger in Nurse Betty
One brain cell short of a pair: Renée Zellweger in Nurse Betty

Nurse Betty starts Friday at area theaters.

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