Jove, $5.99, ISBN 0-515-12612-8
Contemporary Paranormal Romance, 1999
Hmm. Now this is another hard review to write, because this one will turn into a soapbox of titanic proportions if I am not careful. It will degenerate into a rant about how all those puerile Pretty Woman and Cinderella dick-the-chick flicks have made a laughingstock out of modern women. It will end up being a discussion on the best ways to torture Nora Ephron, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, and Helen Hunt for single-handedly smiting the entire women’s cinema with sugar and brainless muzak.
Razzle Dazzle is basically a story about dumbasses in love. Yes, take two twits who refuse to believe in love and all. Two twits, one man, one woman. The man will have many loving matchmaking senile old women insisting that he is good and he is acCatch. The woman? Make her this man’s other woman, the Cruela De Vil for the unthinking masses.
The dumbass will fall for an innocent, selfless twit and get a happy ending. The evil woman will get humiliated and booted out of the story before you can even say “What?”
Add in a love potion subplot that may or may not be working on these two. No, we’re not talking about a cocktail of pure marijuana. I think. It’s probably something less recreational. Put the selfless, lovelorn heroine in pretty dresses, she moves up the social hierarchy, and she gets the dumbass (his repentance is symbolized by his increasingly bewildered expression as the story progresses) in an explosion of old women meddling badly, kooky Wiccans (this may or may not offend true practitioners of Wicca; I don’t know), and the sound of me smashing the Pretty Woman soundtrack to pieces with my trusty jackhammer.
I don’t know. I hate romance stories where all these annoying double standards and all are masked under frilly, cuddly tutus and all. It makes me feel insulted. It seems to be telling me that a woman’s entire worth lies in her being pampered by a man. And whether I’m being fair or not, that doesn’t make Razzle Dazzle any more likable in my opinion.