Me Myself I

Directed by Pip Karmel
Starring: Rachel Griffiths, David Roberts, Sandy Winton, Yael Stone, Shaun Loseby, Trent Sullivan.
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality and some language.

Review by Matt Heffernan
May 2, 2000

Here goes the second round of 2000's Name Game. Too many titles are dangerously similar, which may lead to confusion for film-goers and skewed box office results. The new Autralian import Me Myself I will probably not be mistaken for the upcoming Farrelly/Carrey reunion Me, Myself & Irene, which will certainly get much wider distribution. But, a big studio release can do nothing to help get this smaller film more recognition.

Rachel Griffiths stars as Pamela Drury, a single women in her 30s that writes for a magazine in Sydney. Her current article is about the aspirations of teenage girls, so she visits a self-defense class. She is instantly attracted to the instructor, Ben (Sandy Winton), and she gets his number, but soon finds out that he is married. Distraught, she thinks about Robert Dickson (David Robert), a man who proposed to her 13 years ago, but she declined -- a decision she has long regretted. Then, one afternoon, she is hit by a car. The driver helps her up... and it is Pamela, herself.

This Pamela, however, said "yes" to Rob, and they now have a house and three kids in the suburbs. Pamela Dickson takes Pamela Drury back to the house, then mysteriously disappears, leaving Ms. Drury in her place. Pamela now gets to live the life she has dreamed of, but she finds it to be quite different than she imagined.

The premise behind Me Myself I is nothing new. Some may remember Mr. Destiny, starring Jim Belushi, in which the protagonist wishes he had hit a baseball, and gets to see how his life would be. Of course, you can always compare it to It's a Wonderful Life, except that George Bailey wanted no life at all. I think that a women's perspective, though, adds an important new twist. This film explores the feelings of a modern, independent woman, that is still affected by the traditional female roles she saw growing up. There is still a part of Pamela that thinks she wants the Donna Reed lifestyle. In the first part of the film, she tells a friend that she wants children. Her friend replies, "I thought you didn't like children." Incensed, Pamela asks, "What's that got to do with it?"

It really takes a woman to add truth to this story, and Pip Karmel does a commendable job. This is her first time writing or directing a feature film, but she has worked as an editor for Scott Hicks on Sebastian and the Sparrow and Shine (for which she was given an Academy Award nomination). While the film needed some more laughs (and a little less derivation), Karmel's choice in casting Griffiths was perfect. She's the only significant star in the film, but she provides enough talent to keep the story interesting.

Round three of the Name Game will continue soon, with my review for East is East -- a British film that is duking it out with the French entry East-West. That contest should prove to be closer. For now, Me Myself I will have to take advantage of its earlier release.

For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Me Myself I (1999)

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Me Myself I (1999) -- VHS
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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan