I guess we've arrived at the point where even movie titles are dogwhistles?
The goofy "Fatale," starring Hilary Swank in the title role, very much wants us to remember "Fatal Attraction," which may be a stretch for some movie watchers since that thriller is 34 years old. No worries, though, because "Fatale" is prepared to remind you of it. Often.
Swank plays a smooth talker who becomes involved with a man (Michael Ealy) who's in Vegas on a timeout from his marriage. When Ealy's Derrick returns to Los Angeles, the home he shares with his wife (Damaris Lewis) is burgled. You'll never guess who the police officer assigned to the case is, except you'll totally guess: Hilary Swank.
Her Detective Val Quinlan is so transparently demented that it makes no sense for Derrick to get with her — particularly if you recall that Ealy knows this sitch because he played the seducer in the similar "The Perfect Guy" — but pretty much nothing here makes sense. It's a would-be sexy movie in which all of the gorgeous principals have no-nudity clauses (including Mike Colter as Derrick's beefy colleague). It teases the notion that a white cop is wrecking the lives of Black people without addressing it. It "justifies" Derrick's cheating by making his wife an openly terrible person without noticing that means we have no stake in him getting back together with her.
And you'll never guess the name of the co-producer of this movie that depicts its female characters as nuts or evil or both, except you totally will: Hilary Swank.
Chris Hewitt • 612-673-4367
⋆½ out of four stars
Rating: R for violence, sexual content and language.
Theaters: In wide release and on-demand