Jack & Jill
Animal Planet, Part II

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Tumbleweed: D | Grade It Now!
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The Foul Nine Yards

Close-up of Elispa's limpid brown eyes as she says, "I'm telling you -- there is a woman vacuuming naked in the apartment across the street. Cut to Mr. E's raised eyebrow. "I'm not gonna fall for that again," he says. "Okay, how 'bout on the count of three, we both get to blink," she suggests. He's not buying. He asks, "So, would you describe yourself as a gold person or a silver person?" Cut to Elispa looking intrigued in a proto-Stevie Nicks gauze peasant top and floral shawl ensemble. I'm thinking she's a gold dust woman and Mr. E is a rhinestone cowboy. "What do you mean?" she asks. "Jewelry-wise," he says, causing her to blink in consternation. Mr. E says, "Yes!" and makes standing-O crowd noises. She says it's not fair for him to "play the jewelry card," then asks if "this is because Valentine's Day is tomorrow." She admonishes him not to get her anything, but he says he wants to. If the way they get their kicks is by having staring contests, then perhaps he should get her a deck of cards or, say, a Ouija Board. Elispa shrills, "You just feel like you have to because some card company brainwashed you into thinking the only way you can show someone you care is by giving them chocolates or flowers or jewelry, accompanied of course by a card." Wow, that Elispa doesn't wear leotards and refuse to wash her hair for nothing -- she's a rad sixties throwback, with the ersatz Marxist rhetoric to prove it! "So you really don't want me to do anything for you?" Mr. E asks skeptically. "At least not on February 14," Elispa says. "Any other time though, I'd love it." She then throws down the gauntlet for another staring contest, and he suggests "the best 27 out of 53," leading me to wonder if the reason for their mysterious bond is that they're both Amish. Let's examine this further: Mr. E plays acoustic guitar, they don't drink and use candles instead of electricity, and Elispa's clothing has no buttons. Jill had to borrow that horse-and-buggy from someone, and the last person he was seen speaking to was Elispa. Who made a horse reference. And has an apartment filled with Shaker furniture. I rest my case.

Back to Ick and Ill. Ill turns the horse over to an old man, clearly an Amish stable-keeper or some operative of Elispa's. Ill pats the horse goodbye wistfully, because once it's out of the picture, there's nothing standing between him, Ick, and some dreaded hetero busy-ness. "I'm gonna take you somewhere," he stalls, hoisting the suede-swaddled sock puppet up and twirling her in the X-mas-lit street. Meanwhile, Mikey sponges a countertop while Belinda looks on with a "way to go" expression. "You have the best wipe," she says. Should I repeat that, or did you get it the first time? "The way you get all that schmutzy stuff with one flick of the wrist," she gushes. Mikey looks tentatively pleased and says with dual meaning, "Yeah, you make as many messes as I do, you get pretty good at cleaning up." He asks where Lucy is and Belinda says, "She's working late, I think." "Cool," Mikey says, looking as pensive as a single-celled organism can. Belinda says he can stay over again and he claims he has to work the late shift at the bar because he needs the extra cash. Lucy ex machina. She's wearing a mauve pashmina and carrying a big sack of Blockbuster videos. She says, "If I read one more self-indulgent, self-important, great new voice of American fiction bull --" and then looks up to see Mikey and Belinda. If they're peddling this person as the woman of Mikey's dreams, aren't they placing undue stress on her literacy? Are they paving the way for long Socratic dialogues wherein Mikey asks Lucy if Bret Easton Ellis is the Big Kahuna of American writers? Stop this ride, I want to get off! Lucy asks if she's interrupting anything, and Mikey says "No!" a tad too enthusiastically. Belinda says, "I made pirogues," and Lucy says, "Aww, and Mikey's cleaning up. I wouldn't have pegged you as a kitchen guy." Her enunciation during this scene is so bizarre that it almost distracts me from her wardrobe, which is stranger still. Under her winter coat, it seems that she's opted to wear a turtleneck dickie as a blouse. Mikey says sagely, "I'd think for someone who's as quick to peg people as you are, I'd think someone like that would be pretty good at pegging someone like me." Lucy grimaces demonically while Belinda simpers approvingly and says, "He's so funny." Boy, get these three together and you've got a veritable Vesuvius of inanity! Lucy offers to leave them alone, but Mikey wants to know what videos she got. Looks like "Point Break, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Speed and The Matrix." Mikey has a little eyebrow episode and says, "Ah, a chick who appreciates the unique talents of Keanu." Yes, as precocious as Simon Rex's vapid line delivery is, Keanu remains the uncontested Big Kahuna of one-note pretty-boy actors. "I love the man," says Lucy, with excessive, inscrutable topspin. Angela Featherstone's acting technique seems to consist of a losing battle to gain mastery over a chronic facial twitch. "He's so lame!" protests Belinda, sealing her fate as the odd man out in this threesome. "He's so misunderstood," Mikey and Lucy say in unison, immortalizing their Keanu Kismet by doing a complete-the-sentence recitation of plots from his films: Lucy says, "He finds the perfect wave," and Mikey says, "Whoah!" "Finds the bomb on the bus . . ." "Whoah!" "Finds out he's the messiah . . ." "Whoah!" Belinda looks on with an expiration date of yesterday stamped on her forehead. "So which one should we watch first?" Mikey says, because suddenly, it seems, he doesn't have to work the late shift after all.

Jitterbug music plays as Barto gets jiggy with his anatomy skeleton, doing an elaborate swing dance in accordance with some instructional video. From his groggy, half-lidded expression, it looks like Barto's been stretching the definition of medical marijuana again. Segue to the feisty Ferret, Jazzercizing in a sports bra and sweatpants. Flexible Ferret executes a variety of squat-thrusts and stomach-flexing lunges as an instructor counts tediously. In one step, a muscle-bound man flings her across the room and she falls to the floor like a sack of hammers. Her Jazzercise colleagues affect concern, but the stoic ferret cannot be deterred from further lewd gyrations.

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Jack & Jill

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