The Beach

By Mark Ramsey | 2000/02/10

Steven Spielberg just had a kidney removed, and already it has hired a personal trainer, signed a first look deal with Paramount, earned a Golden Globe nomination, torn up the dance floor with Jennifer Love Hewitt, and been tossed out a speeding car window by a fleeing Puffy Combs. Go figure.

Good news! The Self-Indulgent Planet of Leo DiCaprio returns to the screen in his first new movie since Titanic. Call it Titanic Disappointment. Sorry, but The Beach is a flick only Leo’s mom and his Schwab broker could love.


The Beach is from the director of that killer heroin and heist opus, Trainspotting. Unlike Trainspotting, however, The Beach features needles of the pine variety and track marks leading to the ocean. A baby crawling along the ceiling has given way to a movie that just plain crawls. The Beach isn’t killer, it’s just deadly.

Bonjour, Love! Leo falls for French babe Françoise, which I believe is a type of salad. I’ll take mine sans dressing, if you know what I mean. Françoise and her boyfriend Etienne (which is French for “cash machine”) join Leo on his quest for paradise or at least a place to take off his shirt and flex.

Hey Leo, get thee to a gym! I know a movie’s in only two dimensions but so are you, pal. Word is, Leo mostly works chest – as many as possible. He’s heavy on the bars and light on the barbells.

“Regardez-vous, Jack” says Françoise, “if we sweem out to za sea, za plankton will glooooow as zey bask in our lovemaking, and we may share pomme frites and champagne with ze ocean fauna. Bonjour Monsieur Tiger Shark! Mangez-vous on Za Heart of Zee Ocean!”


Hear that sound? It’s music by the legendary composer Angelo Badalamenti, who unfortunately has the words “bad” and “lament” in his name. That’s a warning beacon if ever there was one!

Once in paradise, Leo and his posse encounter a hippie commune whose primary chore is to beam wistfully out over the beach as if they – or we – have never seen one before.

To welcome Leo and his pals into their communal brood, the beach hippies launch enormous hot air balloon condoms emblazoned with their names into the night sky – just like NASA did with The Last Action Hero. Up, up they float to join various other orbiting birth control devices, such as gigantic dental dams, spinning pill dispensers, and a hovering 8 x 10 of the Drew Carey Show cast.

Leo is supposed to keep the island a secret but that would mean more airborne condoms, so out goes the word and in come the immigrants along with the ghost of Papa Hemingway and numerous bootlegs of Jimmy Buffet’s Greatest Hits.

What kind of paradise is living in one room with fifty stinkin’ hippies and no TV, anyway? If The Blue Lagoon taught us anything, it’s that hot chicks living on remote islands get naked. Not in this paradise, bubba. The only “endless love” here is between Leo and his hair care products.

Things turn comic when Leo goes guerilla. Wrapping a bandana around his head, Leo goes skipping through the forest like a Keebler elf. He declined to stick camouflage branches in his hair for fear they’d take root.

Elf Leo taunts the considerably less attractive gun-toting locals like he’s Tarzan, King of the Dingleberries. Hey, Puck, what fools these peace-loving hippie mortals be.

Okay, as an actor, Leo is second to none. Maybe the finest of his generation. But when he embarks on a torturous quest to find himself in the jungle, do we have to go along for the ride?

On the other hand, Leo, if you want to go back to finding yourself in every VIP room, every after-hours club, and all eligible models under 21, let me know. I’ll scrub for that ride anytime.

Warning: If you dare venture to this beach I have one piece of advice:

Wear sunscreen and shield your eyes.


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“This is where we would kiss if I was attracted to girls”