Monday, August 13, 2012
Groovy Movie: Jennifer Coolidge is The Queen of Versailles
Actually Jackie Siegel is The Queen of Versailles, but while I was watching Lauren Greenfield's new documentary recently, I kept thinking how actress Jennifer Coolidge would be perfect as Jackie if director Christopher Guest ever adapted the film into one of his mockumentaries. However, The Q of V often already seems like a Christopher Guest movie as it shows us the unbelievably exorbitant lifestyle of Jackie, her billionaire husband, David, their eight children and her many precious dogs. And just as David Siegel, whose fortune comes from a time-share business, is building his dream home in Florida - a 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles - the economic crisis of 2008 changes everything as he and his family are faced with severe financial challenges and a serious reality check.
Jackie continues to be a compulsive shopper who lives in her own little fantasy world, and she provides the film with most of its dark humor. I loved spending time with her - even though she is a Republican. Her husband, on the other hand, is an increasingly sour presence as he struggles to keep his business afloat. Also, early on he admits to helping George W. Bush get elected in 2000 by illegal means (click here to read more about it) - and since that "wonderful" President caused the economic meltdown, it seems only fair that David Siegel ends up suffering as a result. It made me smile.
And The Queen of Versailles made me laugh - and shake my head in disbelief that I wasn't watching Ms. Coolidge in a Christopher Guest film. People like the Siegels really do exist in the world, and Ms. Greenfield gives us a fascinating and frequently disturbing glimpse into the lifestyle of the filthy rich.
My Grade: B+
Running time: 100 minutes