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‘Some Girls’ (R)

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
September 24, 1988

Art appreciation meets hormone movie in "Some Girls," a flubbed and befuddled farce about "that subtle power that women possess and wield with such horrifying grace." Oh. So that's it.

Women, hear them purr, are represented here by three Canadian sisters who toy with a naive American college boy. "Can't Buy Me Love" star Patrick Dempsey plays the geeky Michael, who spends Christmas in Quebec with his girlfriend Gaby and her eccentric family. The stunning Gabriella (Jennifer Connelly) and her gorgeous sisters (Sheila Kelley and Ashley Greenfield) tease the man-child all vacation long. Director Michael Hoffman, producer Rick Stevenson and writer Rupert Walters, old Oxford buddies, must have gotten their knowledge of women out of a L'Eggs egg.

How mysterious women are, thinks Michael of the sisters as they pose under gigantic reproductions of famous artworks, such as Botticelli's Three Graces and the 15th-century Unicorn tapestries. At night Michael, clad in his nightshirt and nightcap, roams the D'Arc family's dark, baroque mansion. In the corridors, he encounters the maidens, usually semiclad (they take after their biographer father, who can only write in the nude). Michael becomes so sexually aroused he rushes outside and stuffs snow in his pants to gain some measure of control.

Matters are further complicated when Michael meets the girls' crazy, dying grandmother, who mistakes him for her late husband Michael. Granny (exquisite Lila Kedrova) teaches Michael about love in scenes that seem to belong to another movie, not only because they're out of context, but because Kedrova and Dempsey have rapport.

The rest of the cast, like the D'Arc mansion itself, has problems with electricity. There isn't any. And they're meant to be oh, so warm and zany, as when Mr. D'Arc (Andre' Gregory) sits in his birthday suit speaking of Blaise Pascal. He confides that he still finds Mrs. D'Arc (Florinda Bolkan), his daughters and Granny "ineffable, unknowable." And, well, there you are.

Coming of age is not a small thing if it's you that's coming. But does it deserve the works of Botticelli, quotes from Faulkner and sets derived from "Parsifal"? Yes, if you went to Oxford and took too many electives. Some Girls, at area theaters, is rated R.

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