The internet’s hive mind is something that shouldn’t have as much power as it does. It can cancel celebrities, run TV shows into the ground, and can only be opposed by governments and transnational corporations, often to their own detriment. I had assumed that Cuties was one of the films that fell into the inescapable pit, and that I could feel smug at being one of the enlightened ones who doesn’t follow the bandwagon like a sheep.
That fantasy was not to be brought into reality. This film is so bad, so utterly putrid that I’m willing to wave the flag of the internet masses. To put it more simply, this film gargles used baby wipes.
You know how Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, and Battlefield seem to entirely bank on their players being about as self-aware as dead chicken? Well, Cuties seems to be directed by one of these people. First of all, this film is perverted, and pedophilic as fuck, pun not intended.
It involves, among other things, an attempt to take a video of a pre-teen’s dick, an 11-year-old girl blowing up a used condom, and using it as a breast, pre-pubescent nudity that wasn’t shown on screen to the immense relief of the known universe, and many other horrible things. I can’t imagine an executive meeting that would have conjured up these concepts short of one involving a massive quantity of nitrous oxide.
I could have maybe stomached the ethics if it was a fun movie, but sadly I got no enjoyment out of it at all. Much like many other movies made in France and Belgium with a serious point in mind, fun seems to have been shunted down the priority list in favour of filming a twelve-year-old’s ass.
The thing’s paced like an arthritic sloth and I’ll admit that some movies have done quite well while being slow. IT comes to mind. Things happened in those movies, they also had a plot that could keep its trousers on. The director seems to subscribe to the philosophy that cause and effect, setting up characters so that their actions make sense, and not being paced like a fucking slug on wet concrete isn’t necessary.
The result is an unfocused mess where characters are attacked for not putting a soda can in a bin (there might have been more to it, but I’m not going back to double-check), or, to be more scientific, it’s about as coordinated, and well planned as a pile of elephant snot. I do think it’s hiding behind its slice of life, style of storytelling, and like a lot of our lives, it’s hard to decipher what the fuck is going on.
Cuties was especially profound towards the end after the final performance. I don’t know what was happening in the last 7 or 8 minutes, our main character just breaks down on stage and runs home for no apparent reason.
The more I sat and reflected on this mountain of whale jizz, the more something came to me – this thing feels like a bad indie game. An indie game possibly directed by Tommy Wiseau, and by that I mean you bumble around with barely existent plot threads then get a shit ending. There’s a point towards the start where our main character overhears her mother crying because her husband is taking on a second wife (it’s a Muslim family). Would you like to know how that plot point ends? So the fuck would I because the film kind of forgets about it.
I also wonder if it gets extremely unfocused in the second half because they wanted to wrap things up before any more scandals were to be had. Yet after all that, all the twists and turns that didn’t seem to be necessary, it just ends, fades to black. No one grew, no one learned anything, besides Netflix I suppose, and worst of all there was absolutely no cultural commentary with any sort of competence.
You know, when the internet took to the metaphorical streets to protest this thing, I thought less of it. I sincerely hoped it would be a deep cultural critique with a poorly received cover. But no, I don’t know why this was deemed a good project for Netflix to invest in, although I suppose we know their political standing now.
The best thing you could say about Cuties is that it set out with a potentially noble cause, but I genuinely have no idea how they could have possibly handled this project any worse. It’s either sickeningly perverted or about as fun as dragging a jet ski over a gravel driveway, and it moves at roughly the same pace. This is a film that truly deserves to be shelved to the archives of history, then removed from the archives and stomped on a few times.