Spike Lee’s She Hate Me begins with a montage of Dead Presidents that culminates with a shot of a three-dollar bill that links George W. Bush to the Enron scandal. This “All About the Benjamins” sequence sets up what begins as a promising critique of our greed-driven corporate culture. Biotech executive Jack Armstrong (Anthony Mackie) is a rich brother working for a firm that’s on the brink of releasing an AIDS vaccine. After a colleague commits suicide, Jack stumbles over financial malfeasance in the company’s copy room, but when he turns whistle-blower, his higher-ups, Powell (Woody Harrelson) and Margo (a brilliant Ellen Barkin, doing her damnest Martha Stewart impersonation) turn the tables on the man for breaking the unspoken rule of their corporate enterprise: that family takes care of its own. Enter Jack’s ex-fiancée Fatima (Kerry Washingtom), her girlfriend Alex (Dania Ramirez), and a small community of culturally-defined fembot dykes willing to pay $10,000 for Jack’s “man milk.” With his bank account frozen, Jack not-so-reluctantly caves in and begins to live out Lee’s whack-off fantasy of fucking every lesbian in sight, including a Madonna-Whore played by Monica Bellucci. Lee contrasts corporate and familial responsibility, and though he doesn’t seem to see a difference between what happens in the workspace and what happens in the bedroom, his barely articulate theories are undermined by his laughable notion of what lesbians want and how they want it. When Mr. Armstrong Goes to Washington, Lee admonishes his protagonist for skirting his parental responsibility but fails to address the fact that the pimped-out Fatima’s purchase of Jack’s sperm was negotiated under her own terms. Unlike the average African-American woman raising a child fatherless, this woman actually wants to raise a child without a father. That Lee so readily tosses aside her contractual requirements doesn’t so much imply that he’s ignorant of her demands as much as it furthers the notion that Lee thinks lesbians are playthings for the average straight dude. Most contracts are negotiated with John Hancocks, but in She Hate Me, deals are sealed with hot lesbian action. Spike, get a clue.
- Spike Lee
- Michael Genet, Spike Lee
- Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, Ellen Barkin, Monica Bellucci, Jim Brown, Reynaldo Rosales, Jamel Debbouze, Brian Dennehy, Woody Harrelson, Ling Bai, Q-Tip, Dania Ramirez, John Turturro, Roslyn Tate, Ossie Davis