Carrie Preston is best known to audiences these days as waitress Arlene Fowler on True Blood, as well as the hilariously ditzy Elsbeth Tascioni on The Good Wife. On Friday night, though, Preston was in Atlanta not as an actress, but as a filmmaker with her sophomore effort, That’s What She Said.
Developed by writer Kellie Overbey from her original play Girl Talk, That’s What She Said is described by Preston as “a ‘wo-mance,’ not a bro-mance.” That’s about as apt a description as anyone else could provide. That’s What She Said comes off as a female-cast version of The Hangover in its raunchy attempts at humor.
The film stars Marcia DeBonis and Anne Heche as best friends Bebe and Dee Dee, whose day around New York prepping for Bebe’s date that night is altered by a run-in with the recently-dumped Clementine (Alia Shawkat). As one could predict by the comparison to The Hangover, all hell breaks out.
The film itself, unfortunately, fails to gel from its opening moments. There’s no explanation as to why Bebe and Dee Dee are even acquaintances, let alone best friends. Their personalities are so far apart from each other that they feel like they should inhabit different universes. Clementine’s addition within the first 10 minutes doesn’t help matters. The issues they face, ranging from sex addiction to fights and at least one death, are far too random. It’s like Overbey came up with a checklist of crazy incidents and decided to insert them all in order into her screenplay.
That’s not to say the film is a total waste. There are certainly some humorous parts to the film, and Heche in particular manages to rise above the material more often than not. Credit should also be given to Preston for her work at making the film as female-centric as possible; with one exception, men are fleetingly present in the film. The problem is that there’s no charm, no soul to the film. It’s the difference between following the formula of The Hangover and the success of Bridesmaids, which balanced its raunchy humor with a more notable story.