Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Wrong Strauss-Kahn Movie

It’s getting harder to coopt reality for entertainment. Columnist Ross Douthat proposes a Dominique Strauss-Kahn epic—“one of those sprawling, complex, kaleidoscope-of-globalization movies that aspire to Oscar glory. Think ‘Traffic’ or ‘Syriana,’ ‘Crash’ or ‘Babel’”—but he has the wrong genre.

The boffo box office gold may be in a remake of low comedy.

Imagine the poster for the 1988 flick “Twins”--identically dressed Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito leaning against each other, and then put in the head of Strauss-Kahn for DeVito’s.

The script practically writes itself: Two disparate self-made Europeans in their early 60s suddenly find, in the words of the old Spy Magazine, they were “separated at birth” and are dramatically reunited by revelations that they share DNA to make headline dicks of themselves at the height of fame and wealth.

The parallels are remarkable. Both marry women journalists from rich and aristocratic families—a Kennedy TV newswoman and the daughter of a wealthy French family described as “a combination of Charlie Rose and Barbara Walters” by Elie Wiesel, for whom one of the Strauss-Kahn children is named.

Both come a cropper in encounters with housemaids, albeit years apart, and in the climatic scenes embrace the inevitability of the inborn hubris waiting to take them down at the height of their careers. (Strauss-Kahn was ready to run for president of France and, were it not for the U.S. native-born thing, Arnold would have been up there for the 2012 Republican nod ).

But unbridled lust is destiny, and one is caught out by the existence of a teen-age son while the other is entrapped by a Monica Lewinskyish semen stain for which not even the most ardent Right-to-Lifer would claim human status.

Sad endings for a farce. Maybe better to stick with the Danny DeVito version.

Update: Arianna Huffington weighs in, noting that “the competitor who ultimately did Strauss-Kahn in wasn't one of his political rivals, it was himself.

“Likewise in California, Arnold Schwarzenegger has made a career of defeating opponents--including me!--both on-screen and off. But, in the final reel, he was undermined by an opponent much closer to home.”

If they remake “Twins,” she could serve as the Greek chorus.

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