Girl 6 (Spike Lee)

Rating: ** (out of ****)

Messy, rambling, incoherent, and unapologetically ludicrous, Girl 6 is simultaneously fascinating and well-nigh unwatchable, like news footage of a natural disaster. It's so uncompromisingly bizarre that I couldn't detest it, but takes itself so seriously much of the time that I couldn't just throw logic to the wind and give myself over to it, either. Instead, I just sat there with my mouth half-open, wondering if perhaps I was dreaming this strange movie. Is that really Spike Lee as George Jefferson, doing the Funky Chicken? Am I really watching a couple kiss in the street while pastel-colored telephones fall from the sky and shatter around their ankles? (This scene prompted a woman behind me to tell her companion, in a wonderfully matter-of-fact tone, "This is just too much metaphor for me to cope with.") The film sometimes seems to be aiming for an early-Godard jokey anti-narrative aesthetic -- the script was penned by renowned playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom, The America Play), and is often as randomly odd as contemporary theater almost always is -- but Lee is just too solemn and self-important to pull off that sort of inspired drollery, and for every unexpected moment that works there are three that just sit there on the screen, furtively looking around for some kind of context. The best thing about the film is Theresa Randle in the title role; she has the chops and star quality that Tracy Camilla Johns sorely lacked in She's Gotta Have It, and I hope her exposure (literal in the first scene -- I can't believe that Lee and Parks wrote a movie about a actor who doesn't want to expose her breasts to get parts, then convinced the actor playing the actor to expose her breasts for the film) in a Spike Lee Joint lands her a lot of great roles. Cameos galore: Madonna, Turturro, Tarantino, Ron Silver, Halle Berry, et al.