Single White Female (1992) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

About 2/3 of this is a very, very good genre picture. 

Bridget Fonda plays a young member of the New York yuppie class, with the perfect job, the perfect lover, and the perfect apartment. Unfortunately, the boyfriend is in a messy thing with his ex-wife, Bridget finds out that the two slept together, is inconsolable, and dumps the boyfriend.

Oh-oh! This means she needs a roommate to help pay for the dream penthouse digs. 

After rejecting a variety of lowlifes and neurotics, Bridget finally settles on a sweet, mousy, unassuming girl (Jennifer Jason Leigh). And everything seems to be great. 

But tension arises between them, starting with very small things, then escalating. First, the new roommate does things without asking permission: she gets a dog, she borrows clothing - things a sensible person knows can't be done without a roommate's consent.  Then she gets possessive when roomie doesn't report her whereabouts. Then, it becomes clearer and clearer that Leigh wants more than just a roommate and friend. She wants a replacement for a twin she lost in childhood. She goes way beyond wearing Bridget's clothing. She gets the exact same hair style and color, uses the same perfume, seems to be transmuting into the Golden Girl. She even seduces Bridget's dumped boyfriend, by pretending to be Bridget while the guy is half-asleep. (It sounds implausible, but it's actually credible in context. She has the right look, it's dark, the perfume is right, the guy was asleep when she crawled in bed, and she gives him a BJ.) 



Steven Weber's genitals can be seen from the front when he gets out of bed, and from the rear as he bends over to dress


Jennifer Jason Leigh is topless in several scenes. Although there is no frontal exposure in the theatrical version, the full screen print is a full-negative, and the shower scene clearly shows her pubes.

Bridget Fonda shows her behind in two scenes. once walking, once in bed. When she climbs out of bed, her pubic area and her breasts are glimpsed very fleetingly, quite far from the camera.

That was goin' great up until that point. It not only had some cleverly orchestrated escalating madness from Leigh, but it had lots of nudity from both women and Steven Weber, so we're talkin' lurid genre classic so far, with plenty of tension.

 .......... and then ............

Well, where do you go from there? The moviemakers didn't know. So the film at that point turned into a slasher film with Leigh killing everybody in Fonda's life, including the puppy! Then she chases Fonda through various venues, including the basement storage area of their spooky old apartment building, planning to attack her at various times with hooks, guns, knives, fists of fury, and other things. At one point I think she tied her up and was going to bore her to death by forcing her to listen to The Pirates of Penzance and infomercials with Mike the Sweater Guy. 

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1, and a full screen version

The slasher portion wasn't so hot really, except for a scene when Leigh had Fonda tied up and almost got caught by the cops because Fonda managed to turn the TV remote up loud enough to attract attention. I liked that scene, which maintained a Hitchcockian level of tension when the authorities were at the door. But mostly that last third of the film was like one of those "I Know What You Did Last Summer ... " movies, except with JJL as the Spooky Immortal Gloucester Fisherman Dude.

At any rate, you don't often see a sex-and-violence genre film made with these kinds of production values and performances, so I think you'll enjoy it if you like that sort of thing. 

Tuna's thoughts in yellow:

Single White Female is a thriller staring Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Fonda is a software developer living in a rent stabilized apartment in New York, and is engaged to Steven Weber, that is, until she finds out he slept with his ex-wife. She tosses him out and advertises for a roommate. Leigh is the perfect roomie. She is quiet, polite, and can do plumbing. Gradually, Leigh starts becoming more and more like Fonda, and we suspect something is wrong with her.

Weber is finally forgiven, and moves back in. Weber and Fonda then want Leigh out, but Leigh is not leaving. She is now sporting the same hairdo as Fonda and even has the same wardrobe. She is not going to be shut out without a fight.

Both Fonda and Leigh developed well rounded characters, and the film made a point to plant early clues to what would happen later. This is a C+, a very good slasher film, and possibly a C+ as a thriller as well.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: slightly below three stars. Ebert 3/4, Maltin 2.5/4.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.1 
  • With their dollars ... it was fairly successful - $48 million in domestic gross, and $21 million in rental income
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. Solid genre film that didn't know where to go at the end. Tuna says, "This is a C+, a very good slasher film, and possibly a C+ as a thriller as well."

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