The Unintentionally Hilarious Disguise Of Salt
So, I recently screened Salt with Mrs. Frothy.
I should preface this by saying that this isn’t a review of the film, per se, rather more like a critique of make-up effects in cinema. You see, in Salt, Angelina Jolie’s character is a CIA officer accused of being a KGB sleeper agent. Evelyn Salt ends up on the lam, so to speak, and as such is compelled to don a disguise or two to make herself less conspicuous*. Generally this entails little more than some help from Madame Clairol – though at one point in the film Ms. Salt must masquerade as a man to infiltrate the White House. This is achieved via a variety of practical effects, namely – skin putty, pancake make-up, a wig, eyebrow merkins and perhaps some stippled stubble. It’s as unconvincing a disguise as you are probably imagining (and lo, how I searched and scoured the internets for a screen grab for your amusement, Dear Readers…) but permit me to say that THIS RIGHT HERE is the scene during which I thought I was going to DIE.
Lets us back up a pace or two. Did you see Team America World Police? Do you remember the scene in which Gary must disguise himself as a Middle Eastern man? It’s the worst disguise in the history of film – puppet or otherwise – and that is precisely what makes it so funny. (Check it.) Smudge-y, tan make-up, big patches of hair here and there – it’s a travesty. It’s also the first thing that came to mind when Angelina Jolie appeared in drag and I involuntarily and audibly laughed to the point of embarrassment (I seriously thought my companion, Mrs. Frothy, was going to have to throttle me unconcious to put me out of my shame and misery).
Oh my god, you guys. You can put Ms. Jolie in all the plasticized skin, big-ass, bushy eyebrows, unflattering short wigs, contact lenses and such as you like – but you cannot hide her lush, pillow-y lips, cheekbones that seat six, or almond-shaped eyes. She is the physical embodiment of feminine beauty and there is nothing in existence outside of CGI that can change that. I think we can all agree that when The Gorgeous
Fairy was handing out comely attributes to Ms. Jolie, she was giving with both hands. In a word, it looked silly. I am perfectly willing to go along for the ride and believe that a 90 pound woman can knock a man out by simply giving him the elbow check – but asking me to believe that Angelina Fucking Jolie can get into the White House dressed like a low-rent version of Terry (Joyce Hyser) from Just One of the Guys is just too much.
*Kind of a hilarious concept, incidentally. Angelina Jolie is beautiful to the point of being ridiculous. Her beauty makes her conspicuous and there is precious little she can do to dim her light. I felt this way when I watched The Bone Collector (also directed by Philip Noyce) in which she played, hilariously, a beat cop. Women who look like Angelina Jolie don’t go to police academy or become covert operatives - they go model in Paris or become super famous actresses. I just can’t suspend my disbelief there.