Liz Smith: Bradley Cooper — Sexier When Grungier in ‘Hangover 2’

"Hangover 2" star Bradley Cooper

And more from our Gossip Girl: Anne Sinclair, France’s deluxe Tammy Wynette … Lady Gaga — was she really “Born This Way?” … “Cleopatra” revival enlivens Lincoln Center

“WISE MARRIED women don’t trouble themselves about infidelity in their husbands,” said Samuel Johnson.

* * *

WISE? I suppose that depends on the woman and the circumstances. Certainly the wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn — TV journalist Anne Sinclair — considered herself wise in the matter of her disgraced spouse. She has stated publicly that she felt her husband’s infidelities a “compliment” because he always returns to her.

She has also put up his multi-million dollar bail (she’s an heiress) and intends to use further millions to defend him against the charge that he brutally raped a hotel chambermaid in New York City. Mrs. Strauss-Kahn is an extremely attractive woman, but perhaps it was not her wisdom, her patience or even her good looks that kept Dominique coming back. Maybe it was those millions —money that he needs more than ever. (For sure, Anne was planning to help finance his campaign to become president of France.)

After the fuss and furor of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver dies down — it is already beginning to cool — the Dominique mess will be ongoing. Will Anne Sinclair come to realize that she has never really received a compliment from her husband?  Or — poor thing — that she has received her last one?

* * *

SO, HOW does a mass of trendy New Yorkers dress for a special screening of a movie titled “The Hangover II”? They don’t. Oh, the deadly humidity the other night didn’t stop the ladies from getting themselves up in spiffy next-to-nothing bits of fabric, and towering high-heels, but most of the guys seemed to be taking the title of the film to heart  jeans, sloppy shirts, no ties. There were exceptions, such as one the film’s stars, Bradley his-eyes-are-really-that-blue-Cooper in a beautiful blue suit. And Food TV Network hottie Bobby Flay in a shiny gray number. (Flay was accompanied by his beautiful actress wife Stephanie March, and looks like he has been hitting the gym lately.)  Otherwise, most of those who attended the screening way downtown on Houston street, and later at the spectacular Standard Hotel on West 13th Street, were super casual. (The entire was night was sponsored by The Cinema Society and Bing.)

The Standard was packed — too packed for my taste, and the tiny offerings of lobster roll and the occasional mini-burger were sporadic. However, the young ladies offering these little tastes and various cocktails wore adorable super-short white dresses that stopped many a man in his tracks.

Among the mass — the movie’s director Todd Phillips, and three of his stars — Mr. Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms. Along with Patrick Wilson James Van der BeekJason WuDermot Mulroney (hotter with graying hair) … Crispin Glover Calvin KleinOlivia WildeSandy GallinBen Shenkman, etc. The sight of the night was TV star Zach Braff, squiring towering blonde British model Taylor Bagley. He looked very happy. Or as one observer remarked, “Zach’s penis is very happy tonight.”

Oh, the movie? Come on. You’ve seen the first one — a bachelor party goes violently awry. Like the “Sex and the City” movie sequel, “Hangover II” seeks to pique interest with exotic locations — here it is Bangkok, which does indeed look splendid. It’s vulgar and low-down. Comedy for zombies (zombies have to be shot in the head before they can die.) It’s repetitive, not quite as amusing as the first. But if nothing else there is the eye candy of Bradley Cooper, getting grungier by the minute as he’s beaten up … shot … thrown from cars … but looking even better for it.

Nobody expects Noel Coward here. The audience seemed to love what it saw. I won’t be a spoiler, but two events in the film did disturb me — they went beyond mere bad taste. And when I brought the incidents up, most people agreed with me. Todd Phillips, give us a call.

* * *

LADY GAGA’S new album, “Born This Way” was released on Monday. By today, the top celebrity earner (according to Forbes) should have sold a gazillion records. Or at least enough to still put some faith in the music industry, so wildly undercut by iTunes, digital piracy, etc.

Gaga, wearing nine-inch high shoes, appeared on ABC’s hit “The View” Monday morning. She was charming and sweet. She morphed into what viewers of “The View” would most identify with (she was bullied in high school, she said, although some who recall her, say she was actually popular. Well, all legends gild the lily.) It was a very different vibe than she gave out in her interview with Toure for The Fuse network, where she was all business and talked a lot about her “art.” (Even Toure, a music veteran, couldn’t help looking slightly bemused as Gaga explained herself. And her hats.)

Gaga is talented. She sure can sing and play piano! But her needy, constant crying out for (and to) her fans remains disturbing — or else a very smart ploy. The ladies of “The View” — all of whom seemed quite taken with the 24-year-old icon — showed a clip of Gaga backstage, from her concert special. Elaborately removing her makeup in front of a mirror (we’ve seen this in countless movies) Gaga tearfully expresses her insecurity, her dedication to her “little monsters” and declares “I have to tell myself every day that I am a superstar, or I don’t think I can go on!”

Honey, you have got to go on, because this level of fame and attention never lasts. The fans grow up, the media begs for tales of decline. Up down, up down. Now that you are Gaga, you will always be Gaga. But you won’t always be this Gaga. Chat with Mom about it — and I do mean Madonna.

Speaking of that, Gaga’s mother was in the audience at “The View.” She is youthful and pretty. She wore an affectionate  “oh, really?” expression through much of her daughter’s interview.

* * *

“ONE IS so limited when traveling by ship.” That was Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra” casually dismissing the opulence of her fabled yacht and the feast prepared to impress Mark Antony. This line got a big laugh in 1963 (Joe Mankiewicz’s “Cleo” script was rather witty.) But it got an even bigger laugh last Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Center during a special screening of “Cleopatra.”

The place was packed with die-hard ET fans, who applauded and screamed at every entrance, each cut-to-the-navel outfit, and Miss Taylor’s actressy histrionics as The Serpent of the Nile. The film looks much better than it did in 1963, away from all the hoopla, and must be seen on a big screen. (The TV letterbox version is ridiculous — all impact is lost.)

Wolf whistles reached a peak as La Liz greeted Rex Harrison (Julius Caesar) on a divan, clearly naked under a sheer scarf. “Oh, it’s you,” she says shifting her curves.  But nothing excited the Lincoln Center crowd more than Taylor’s confrontation with Richard Burton, after Antony’s “politically correct” marriage to another woman.

“You will assume the position of a suppliant before this throne. You will kneel.”

Burton sputters, “You dare ask…”

Eyes blazing like stop-signs, Taylor shrieks, “I asked it of Julius Caesar. I demand it of you!”

Antony knelt. The Taylor/Burton mythology was born.


10 Responses so far.

  1. avatar rick gould says:

    GaGa seems talented, but I am not GaGa about the whole image… it just seems very contrived. I’m gay and I’m supposed to be Gaga for her… but I have not drank the GaGa kool-aid…

    Naysayers can say what they want about E.T.’s “Cleo.” And I’m sure they will 😉
    But I watched the restored version on a big screen TV with a straight guy in his 30s.
    His response? “I always just thought of her as that movie star with the crazy Grandma hair who hung out with Michael Jackson. But she was smokin’!”
    He offered further appreciation on each curvy outfit and display of cleavage.
    And was genuinely impressed by Cleopatra’s entrance to Rome pageantry, no CGI then folks…just a cast of thousands shouting out to Hollywood’s greatest star.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Rick…she thought they were going to throw stones or curse her, all those Catholic Italian extras.    Nope.  It was “Liz ! Liz! Baci! Baci!”  

      Her death scene is really quite haunting, with her final whisper,  “Antony, wait…”

      • avatar Baby Snooks says:

        I still agree with the critics although I doubt she cared what the critics or anyone else had to say once the checks started rolling in. The scandal made her one of the most famous women in history, as famous as Cleopatra, and the flim made her one of the richest women in Hollywood But I do agree the final scene is particularly haunting given what followed.

        • avatar Mr. Wow says:

          Dear Baby…most of her good moments are with Rex Harrison.  Later in the film, with Burton, they are George and Martha in antiquity.  Which was fun, though hardly great art.   He was a big hambone.  And she was already enjoying the shrewish side of her personality. 

          Actually, she did care a bit about the critics.  She offered to come back and dub some of the scenes that were deemed especially shrill.  But then Fox sued her.  Of course they lost, but she was no longer inclined to be helpful. 

      • avatar rick gould says:

        Plus, she was afraid of heights…
        And oh, hadn’t she just been chastised by the Vatican?
        I recall a quote by her saying the calls of Baci, Baci made it “one sweet moment.”

        My roomie was also just as fascinated by the documentary that came with te movie (made by Fox, of course!) As the tale of disaster unfolded, my roomie kept saying,”That’s fucked up!”

  2. avatar Richard Bassett says:

    I assume that your reference to Anne Sinclair, regarding Tammy Wynette was ‘Stand By Your Man’…but a little known fact is that Wynette was married five times, as well as had a short term intense romance with Burt Reynolds. So she stood by many men by the time she died at 56. I will be honest (but really in jest) and say Bradley Copper, alone, would be enough to see a film but I am still against seeing parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 in the movie theater. When each installment reaches home (ON DEMAND), and there is something that I do not understand, which may have been explained in an earlier version, I can jump on the computer, stop the movie, and jump off the Internet and when I find my answer (which I often do), Then, I resume watching. This works for me. But only something significant (using humans) and new (at least in my mind) has to be created before I’ll see a movie in the theater. Even Bradley Cooper would have to be in something innovative to see him in a theatrical release. I do not usually consider the cast if something peaks my interest. Though they are often compared to each other, Madonna and GaGa are very different. Madonna choose’s some variety (not much) with her vocal projects and stays away from the press, or the need to constantly explain her artistic motivation. She has stood the test of time. Four decades now and she continues to take on new and unfamiliar projects. When her fans demanded another dance record, she gave it to them. O.K., enough, enough. Gaga is much more accessible, a bit over exposed and has the need to explain ‘artistically’ the choices she makes for her songs, CD’s, CD covers and represents a thin attempt (though noble) with GLBT activism. She claims to be fan driven, but all performers say that at the beginning of their career, “I couldn’t have done it without you”. As time passes and the fan base branches out, that philosophy changes in the life of a successful vocalist. And you learn to ride with the times, as Madonna did for years, and stay contemporary…avoiding being stale. But it’s hard to take Gaga ‘artistically’ seriously when she is dressed in an outfit made of meat. But, I must admit…I love her dance music, her flamboyant shows and her energy. That will soon fade. I can see her being (she is chatty) a talk show host more than Madonna. On ‘The View’ and regarding her self-esteem tears before each show, I found that disconnected and a bit disingenuous because I do not believe that happens. Why film THAT if not rehearsed? I was never a ‘Cleopatra’ fan. I was much too young when it initially was released in June 1963 and must have watched bits and pieces of it through-out the years. I don’t think I could sit through it on a big movie screen at this point. Maybe because I know too much about the behind-the-scenes situation…which was a greater story than ‘Cleopatra’ ever was. When I finally did watch the film, start to finish…I was unimpressed and thought of it like any other epic films that was created at the time. Not bad, not good…I bit too long.

  3. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Anne Sinclair along with her husband shocked the French, not easy to do, years ago with her views on marriage and fidelity and by all accounts it is a good marriage and he comes back to her perhaps not because of the money but simply because she accepts his “wayward ways” which few if any other women probably would. 

    There are a lot of “nuances” at work in the situation which do make some wonder if perhaps he wasn’t set-up. None of us of course know who has said what but even if we did  it comes down to “he said, she said” since there were no witnesses.  The problem, again, is that he is a slezeaball in most eyes even if he is not in hers. And if he weren’t a sleazeball it wouldn’t have been so easy to set him up if he was set-up.

    In any case they are not, again, a boring couple. And I suspect they are going to shock the Americans as they shocked the French.

  4. avatar Laura Ward says:

    How can smart women be so dumb? Of course it’s her money that makes him come back. It’s certainly not what she can give him as a woman. He gets that from new women.

  5. avatar Jay Gentile says:

    A person’s action can make him or her more attractive. In the case of Cooper — knowing that he cheated on his bride on their honeymoon tells me pretty much everything I need to know about this guy: An entitled user who thinks the world is his oyster. I don’t find scum the least bit attractive.

  6. avatar RobinRR says:

    For all you know, Anne might have had some sex with other men outside her marriage as well. This is her third marriage and she might find him interesting.  I don’t know why she wants to spend her money on him though.