Sunday, February 11, 2007
For the first ninety minutes, I buy Elephant Girls. I wouldn't normally enjoy this kind of special, but the evocation of "terrorist" in an ordinary New Jersey household is amusing to me. Rather than just being a pleasant after-dinner party complete with parlor games, cookware demonstrations, and racist jokes among well-bred friends, the introduction of an exotic stranger (Sarah Miriam Aziz) and a police alert throughout the area make for an exciting build. But when we come back from intermission, Carl Gonzalez's script relaxes the tension and starts making subdued conversation about the so-called 'elephant girls' of the Muslim world, using the famed "Afghan Girl" photo from National Geographic to make some sort of point about cultural differences. When this doesn't go anywhere, Gonzalez makes an inexcusable dip into Ridiculous Land (TM), and pulls the most out-of-character twist ever over a truly inconsequential event. I think Gonzalez is a talented, natural writer, full of wit and well-humored characters, but unless he loses the melodrama and grounds his characters in something more dramatic than a dinner party, his stakes will never be high enough to make any sort of lasting impression on the audience. Well, not a good one, at least.