Movie Review: “Crazy About Tiffany’s”

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Those compiling a list for “the first against the wall when The Revolution comes” could get a healthy headstart on the work by jotting down names from “Crazy About Tiffany’s.”

Another love poem to New York aspirationalism and vulgar consumption, its 87 minutes are riddled with “Real Housewives” types, the famous and not-really-famous, breathless metrosexuals and condescending style queens of every sex and other worshipers of elegant, obscenely expensive jewelry.

It’s enough to make you weary of life, despairing of a culture that values whatever the folks who peddle the robin’s egg/turquoise blue boxes are selling.

It’s enough to make you ready for The Revolution.

Then, again, maybe it’s  a chick thing –or a “New York values” thing, as Ted Cruz would put it. I’m not meant to get it.

Filmmaker Matthew Miele, thanks to this and “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s,” has become a  cheerleader for these pricey New York institutions at the top of the world’s retail food chain. He sketches in brief bios of jewelers and company founders, dabbles in the history of Tiffany & Co., the jewelry firm that invented the engagement ring, designed the Super Bowl trophy, NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and the New York Yankees’ logo and settles on a few famous customers and a lot of pop culture references to tell the story of Tiffany & Co. and its place in American lives.

Well, the American lives of the One Percent.

We see Jessica Biel trying on this and that pre-Oscars, hear Jennifer Tilly talk about “taking just any piece of crap movie” so that she can pay her Tiffany’s bill, and take in scenes from “Sex and the City,” “”Ocean’s Eleven,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Friends” and of course, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The aura of the brand is all.

Fran Liebowitz and others dissect that last film, at length, as otherwise, you’ve got a 70 minute movie. There are discussions of how the founder of the now 10,000 employee firm stole its signature color from the mid-19th century Princess Eugenie, who conceived it as her trademark, tales of presidents who shopped there and mini biographies of designers like Jean Schlumberger and others fail to flesh out the documentary to feature length.

Little hints of self-awareness sneak in, as most every rich white woman/customer curses (Katie Couric has a potty mouth?) or lets her lapdog interrupt her tale of the first time she got something in that precious “little blue box.” Elaine Stritch sings “Ladies Who Lunch,” music from “La Dolce Vita” wells up on the score as assorted “social X-rays” (Tom Wolfe’s name for them) prattle on about this setting, that brooch or tiara and when she got it.

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The film avoids sexism. Most of these women, like Couric, who had an exclusive birthday “breakfast” in the store when she turned 50 —  are apparently spending their own money there, and store insiders reveal that “self-purchases” dominate their business these days, not wedding rings.

The most amusing bit in it is Todd Pipes of Deep Blue Something relating how he is shocked by how every woman he runs across can sing him the words to his hit song, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” even though he himself forgets the lyrics as he starts to pick it out on his guitar.

If the economy really is as Wall Street wants us to believe and we can all aspire to someday shopping in that most famous of jewelry stores, perhaps this glossy infomercial will find a home — on some cable network “for women,” most likely. I’m not the target audience and I found it, and its salivating, precious fans, simply revolting.

1half-star

MPAA Rating: unrated, with plentiful profanity

Cast: Katie Couric, Jennifer Tilly, Jessica Biel, Fran Lebowitz, Baz Luhrman, Jerry Weintraub, Todd Pipe
Credits: Written and directed by Matthew Miele. A Gravitas Ventures release.

Running time: 1:27

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