Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So my wife has her mother over and I have to put in some kind of movie to keep them entertained while they snack on salsa and chips and since they weren’t interested in watching my fresh copy of ‘The Degradation of Emanuelle’ I had to dig up something that I thought they might find palatable. Say hello to ‘Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous’. It seems like a Lifetime TV type movie that women would like so I slip in the disk and quickly excuse myself from the room. Unfortunately my wife follows me out of the room and informs me that we rarely get to spend quality time with her mother and I should stay and watch the movie with them. I was going to inform her that she’s not my freaking mother but she looked pretty darned serious so there I was stuck between two women watching a Jessica Simpson movie. Just kill me now.

Meet Megan Valentine (Simpson) a vacuous movie star of bad movies who has just found her boyfriend having nasty sex with her manager, who also happens to be a man. More or less. Distraught Megan wrecks her ride, wanders into a recruitment office and just like that we have ourselves a brand new freshly minted army private.

It’s not long before Megan realizes that the Army isn’t quite the Club Med retreat she was expecting it to be, particularly after having to deal with hard ass Army sergeant Louisa Morley played by Vivica Fox. Though Ms. Fox is a fine actress and does a good job at being a salty hard ass, those big round brown eyes and full lips are still a distraction. To me at least.

Not surprisingly, Valentine is one of the worst army recruits in the history of the planet earth as she sleeps in, constantly forgets to bring her rifle along on the frequent training missions, calls out for a stunt double for harder exercises and whines incessantly which is not making her very popular with her multicultural class of fellow recruits. For disclosures sake these recruits consists of Hispanic medical student Private Castillo

(Aimee Garcia), mousy white girl Private Petrovich (Oleysa Rulin), hostile mature chick Private Jeter (Cheri Oteri), earth loving Asian chick Private Hamamori (Keiko Agena) and African American single mother Private Johnson (Jill Marie Jones). I should mention that before we learned Private Johnson’s ‘story’ my wife yells out ‘I betcha the Black girl is a single mother!’. Just thought I’d mention that.

Sigh. Eventually Private Valentine uses her unique skills to endear herself to her team while her manager (Steve Guttenberg) tries to free her from her Army contract. Eventually Private Valentine insults her team through some misunderstanding and eventually Private Valentine reunites with her team and leads them to glorious victory. And finds true love with a non-gay guy. Outstanding.

It would be so easy to crap on this movie and it would probably deserve it too. I don’t know if this is an official remake of ‘Private Benjamin’ but if it isn’t the ‘Private Benjamin’ camp might want look into legal action. The movie is painfully predictable, it is oft times stupid to the point of being brain dead, it is so light and fluffy that your television theoretically could literally hover off the ground and there’s not an original or unique concept or idea in its ninety minute running time. Except maybe when Jessica slid down that pole, thighs only, carrying a bunch of duffel bags. Don’t think I’ve seen that before.

Yes, we could crap on ‘Private Valentine’ but we are not going to do it here at the FCU. The truth of the matter is the movie does manage to squeeze out some entertainment value despite my valiant efforts to resist being entertained. I know a lot of people don’t like Jessica Simpson for whatever reason but the girl does have her charms which she exploits to their limits in this movie, and as hard as I tried to keep that angry scowl on my face the movie did manage to make me laugh on a couple of occasions. I should also mention my mother-in-law seemed tickled pink by this movie and Vivica Fox was in it. Unfortunately for this movie ‘Private Benjamin’ is apparently one of my wife’s all-time favorite movies which had her muttering how lame this was in comparison throughout the whole movie, often groaning something along the lines of ‘Jessica Simpson can’t carry Goldie Hawn’s thong’ but you can’t please everybody.

If you happen to be a Jessica Simpson hater, and I know there’s enough of you out there to fill up Delaware, then avoid this like the plague because it’s pretty much all Jessica all the time. But if you keep your expectations low and your adult beverage consummation high I’m thinking you might not want to hang yourself after watching ‘Private Valentine’. High praise indeed.

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