Alright, I have been wanting to see this since before it hit movie theaters last year, despite the bad reviews. It's good to watch movies with lowered expectations, though, don't you think?
I can see where this would be confusing. We begin with Babydoll's (Emily Browning) mother having recently died, leaving everything to her two daughters. Unfortunately, they're also left with their evil step-father, who's ticked that his wife didn't leave him any money. He gets drunk and decides to take his revenge out on his step-daughters, locking Babydoll in her room and going after her little sister. But Babydoll escapes and manages to get to them before he does anything. She aims a gun at the bastard and shoots, but rather than killing her step-father, she accidentally kills her sister. And thus the step-father has an excuse to throw her into a loony bin. With one daughter dead and another deemed crazy (via bribery, of course), he now has control of their inheritances.
We learn that she'll be given a lobotomy in five days, a week that is quickly skipped over. Right as the doctor is about to shove that mofo into her brain (we're talking frontal lobotomy, people!), we're whisked away to a brothel in which Babydoll and the rest of the girls in the asylum are no longer mental patients, but prostitutes in a club. They each have their own dance so that they can perform for creepy rich guys who come there.
So Babydoll ends up dancing, rather reluctantly, and every time she starts dancing, we're taken to another world in which Babydoll and the girls are fighting Nazis, dragons, and what have you. And when that ends, the dancing ends, and we're taken back to the asylum. I thought this was a bit silly, actually. Seriously, we don't get to see her dance even once. It's supposed to be mesmerizing and da bomb, but it's left to our imaginations to come up with what that might look like.
This spans over five days, of course. In the brothel, Babydoll has five days until she has to perform for High Roller (Jon Hamm). In her reality, the asylum, it's five days to her lobotomy. It's an odd metaphor, but there it is. Pretty much everything that happens in the fantasy brothel happens in the asylum, although obviously it's been changed up. So Babydoll plots her escape, convincing the other girls to join in. Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish) is the most reluctant one, while her younger sister, Rocket (Jena Malone), is eager to be free. Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens), and Amber (Jamie Chung), just go along with it, mostly.
I like the characters, especially Rocket and Sweet Pea. I thought those two were the best, most fleshed-out characters. Babydoll could have been better drawn. The most we know about her is that she was a protective sister, and is ballsy when it comes to escaping. You don't get much of a feel for her personality, so she's hard to connect with or even care about a lot. I'm not sure if this is Emily Browning's fault or the writer's.
Anyhoo, after the five days are up, we finally go back to the asylum. The ending was overall depressing as hell yet oddly satisfying. You can always hope for a happier ending, though, am I right?
This is definitely a visual, as well as musical, treat. Nice soundtrack, nice cast. It's not exactly torture watching a cute cast of young women (and Jon Hamm, hubba hubba).
Now I won't pretend to fully understand this movie. That would take some repeat watches, at least. But as a novice, I enjoyed it.
My grade: B