The Real Blonde

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
The Real Blonde Movie Poster Image
Dated '90s satire filled with sex talk and profanity.
  • R
  • 1997
  • 105 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The importance of persistence, especially when pursuing acting as a career. Characters try to maintain a sense of integrity in their acting careers as they struggle to make ends meet. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Joe is an idealistic young actor trying to get his career off the ground while maintaining his integrity. On the streets of New York, he stands up to two men, one who verbally accosts women and one who slaps his girlfriend hard in the face. 

Violence

On a sidewalk, Joe gets a gun pulled on him after he confronts a man who slaps his girlfriend hard in the face. Mary punches and kicks her self-defense instructor during a class. Talk of suicide in a soap opera in which one of the characters acts. A woman's dog gets stolen while she's walking him. 

Sex

Frequent discussion of sex and sexualized images. Jokes involving erections. A fantasy sequence in which an attractive woman offers to perform oral sex on the lead character. Models often appear wearing little clothing. A character peruses an adult video store and goes to a peep show. 

Language

Frequent profanity: "f--k," "faggots," "bulls--t," "piss." Sex talk, in and out of bed. Talk of erections. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Champagne. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Real Blonde is a 1997 movie that's both a satire and a reflection of show business, urban life, and finding and maintaining love in the 1990s. Characters frequently discuss their sex lives; there are jokes about erections and references to oral sex and peep shows. There's profanity throughout, including "f--k." A character gets a gun pulled on him after he confronts a man who slaps his girlfriend hard in the face. The movie's themes aren't likely to resonate with teens, particularly the difficulties in maintaining one's integrity as a struggling actor trying to make ends meet and life in the big city. The overall pacing and dated '90s styles also will be a turnoff for many.

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What's the story?

Joe (Matthew Modine) is a struggling actor living in New York with his longtime girlfriend Mary (Catherine Keener), who supports them both as a makeup artist on model photo shoots. Joe's inability to find acting work is heightened by his idealism; he believes that acting in soap operas, for instance, is beneath him. Meanwhile, his friend Bob lands a prominent role in a soap and begins to attain some success while attempting to start an offscreen romance with costar Kelly (Daryl Hannah). To pay his rent, Joe swallows his pride and integrity and takes a job as one of dozens of male models in a Madonna video, clad in nothing but their swimsuits. As Joe continues to struggle to get his career off the ground, his relationship with Mary is at a crossroads -- do they continue to stay together or do they move on?  

Is it any good?

In content, themes, and pacing, THE REAL BLONDE is an adult movie with adult concerns. It's both a satire and a reflection on the acting life, the objectification of beauty (in both genders), and the difficulties in maintaining long-term relationships in the midst of urban life. The all-star cameos -- everyone from Steve Buscemi and Dave Chappelle to Denis Leary -- pop in and out of the scenes. It's an earnest movie with plenty of messages, but the problem is that the messages don't offer any fresh perspectives. Acting is a tough racket, there are a lot of creeps who live in the big city, media objectifies beauty, and so on.

This is a '90s movie that hasn't aged well and not only because of the fashions. It's not a horrible movie; it's just that others (those made by Woody Allen, for instance) have explored similar themes and done it better. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the acting profession. How does this movie reflect the highs and lows of those struggling to start an acting career? 

  • Did the sexual content, discussions, and imagery seem pertinent to the overall story and some of the larger points the movie was trying to address? Why, or why not? 

  • How was satire used in this movie? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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