Released: 28th April
Seen: 20th June
So… Louise Linton is an interesting person. If you’ve never heard of her, you might have heard of her husband, former US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. You might know her from that ghoulish photo of her and her husband holding a sheet of freshly printed bills where they look like the villains in a Batman movie, or maybe from an Instagram post where she tagged a bunch of designers while flying to Fort Knox, or maybe from her work as an actress… just kidding, no way do you know her for that. Anyway, after a break to be part of the fortress of evil that was the Trump administration, Louise has decided she’d like to try writing and directing, which was an interesting idea to say the least.
Me, You, Madness is the story of Catherine Black (Louise Linton), a bisexual sex addict who runs a hedge fund which makes her obscenely wealthy which allows her to indulge in her habit of murder. She lives in a home far larger than you will ever live in and has an outfit change every 14 minutes because why the hell shouldn’t she? For some reason she decides to rent out a room in her palatial mansion to a younger man named Tyler (Ed Westwick). Turns out Tyler is actually a thief who is only hiring the room so he can case the house and then steal everything but ends up falling for Catherine after the expected act of sex between the two characters. This leads to shenanigans and possibly more murder, that would be fun, wouldn’t it?
Me, You, Madness seems to think that it’s Basic Instinct by way of Deadpool but what it ends up playing like is a 15 year olds attempt at making American Psycho with a lady in the shower instead of Christian Bale because said 15 year old doesn’t have any taste, and neither does this film. The idea of making fun of films like Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction, any other film with a sexually promiscuous woman who kills people could be fun… this film clearly wants to try to be that but the problem is that it’s just not well written.
The tone is fairly consistent throughout, this hyper stylised vision complete with fourth wall breaks and a soundtrack that feels like someone hit the “Best songs of the 80s” playlist on Spotify. Me, You, Madness is not even trying to be subtle, the main villain eats a spider in the first 5 minutes of the film so there’s no attempt at subtle here. Here’s the thing though, when this kind of thing is done right it still feels like it’s the characters breaking the fourth wall who are just naturally insane. Look at Deadpool as the prime example that this film is clearly trying to be, you always know that this is just how the character behaves and it makes sense but in Me, You, Madness it never feels like it’s the character… it feels like Louise saw Deadpool and said “I can do that” and she just can’t.
I’m not going to suggest that Louise isn’t talented, I’m sure she is on some level but it also doesn’t surprise me to learn that a large amount of films she stars in have her husband listed as a producer because I don’t know how on earth she’d get hired in Me, You, Madness if she didn’t produce, write and direct it. I also had a similar wonder about why someone as semi-known as Ed Westwick would sign onto this but… well, his Wikipedia page has a big section about sexual assault allegations, that kind of clears that up. These people aren’t the kind who would get work in regular Hollywood movies so they’re stuck doing something like this, and they’re miscast on top of everything else.
Look, “bisexual serial killer women who murder pathetic manchildren while 80s synth music blares in the background” is basically a genre designed to delight me. It’s a genre that should be full of over the top insanity that will have my jaw on the floor and films that do this best can be fun. Basic Instinct, an obvious reference point for this film, is a guilty pleasure of mine because it commits to what it’s doing whole heartedly but Me, You, Madness doesn’t seem to be doing that.
This isn’t to say Me, You, Madness is completely without anything of value, which I’ll admit I assumed would be the case when I started watching it. The soundtrack of 80s hits that plays throughout this movie is a genuinely great set of songs, all promising a lot more fun than the content actually provides… look, the film seemed to promise me a murder spree set to Take On Me but didn’t follow through with that promise, which was not nice. Honestly, I would actually pay for a copy of the soundtrack if I didn’t own all the songs already.
The final act of the film might be the moment when all of the insane fourth wall breaking and bad jokes actually kind of works, from arguments over the pronunciation of “Tomato” leading into a song cue to Catherine having a costume change every few minutes because she’s bored and thought it’d be fun are actually strangely amusing. Of course by that point I could’ve also just spent so long sitting with this film that I was desperate to see it work that I was cutting it more slack than it deserved.
When it comes down to it, Me, You, Madness is a film that I really wanted to enjoy more than I did. It has the kind of story that should make it slip right into my guilty pleasure checklist and a soundtrack that is almost designed to attract me to it, but it just constantly feels off with the jokes it’s trying to tell. It tries so hard to be camp that it ends up missing the mark, and failed camp is always painful to watch because you could see the potential for a silly fun time right there waiting to be properly explored. Maybe with a cast that didn’t have so much baggage or a script that was a touch more refined it might be better, as it is though it’s not trashy enough to be fun or memorable enough to be interesting.