New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.40: Suburban Girl


Why was I even watching this film, you ask? I can’t think of a more appropriate query – pun intended. There were two motivators that compelled me to watch this. Naturally, the most prominent reason is Sarah Michelle Gellar, the one actress who I have maintained should star in every film ever. Secondly, the humorous cameo by Audra Blaser as Petal. I met her back at the premiere for The Toxic Avenger at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick. I just wish she had a larger role in Suburban Girl, since she lights up the screen in one of the few scenes that actually made The Sexy Armpit laugh.

The only movies my girlfriend and I agree on are usually those starring Paul Rudd, Jason Segal, or an iron clad Robert Downey Jr. Just like many women out there, she loves a good silly no-brainer romcom or a tear inducing drama, so once in a while I’ll meet her halfway. I found a movie starring SMG and Alec Baldwin that didn’t seem super cheesy, so it was a win-win.

In Suburban Girl, Alec Baldwin seems comfortable in the role of Archie Knox, a middle aged well known writer. The fact that Baldwin gives a sincere performance is not surprising since his role involves philandering, daughter issues, and alcoholism. Those aspects of Archie helped Baldwin provide the character with a very realistic quality.

Sarah Michelle Gellar plays Brett Eisenberg, a young associate book editor who falls for Archie. The much older Archie is noticeably taken by Brett and the two get their bang on. Their relationship is pretty weird, and almost uncomfortable in a father/daughter sort of way. That’s not some unfounded comment either, because Archie is looking to fill a void since his daughter doesn’t speak to him, while Gellar feels like her Dad, who has a terminal illness, was a bit cold and not as involved in her life when she was growing up. Subtext? It’s pretty blatant to me.

Not to diss a profession, but watching a film about an editor is almost as boring and tedious as learning the ins and outs of the editing process itself. Ultimately the film is not very interesting, nor does the “com” part of romcom exist aside from a few clever instances where you’ll definitely chuckle (i.e Solo Hacky Sack in Central Park, etc). As with many of the films I discuss here at The Sexy Armpit, this one has a few saving graces. The fact that it’s set in New York City is not one of them, but let’s take a look at the rest:


BRETT: “You were about to offer some advice?”
ARCHIE: “Well, when it comes to writers, there’s only one rule. Patience. Of course, if that fails, I know a very discreet hit-man who would spread the body parts all over Jersey.”

Later in the film, while flipping through a photo album of all the girls he’s bedded in the last 25 years or so, Archie mentions how he met his ex-wife at Princeton where he was a professor.


PETAL: “…I’m on hiatus right now…doing a play in the Village about the life of Eva Braun.”


I guess I’ll qualify Maggie Grace as one of the saving graces for the “Grace” correlation as well as the cool character Chloe who she brought to the screen. As Brett’s friend Chloe, Grace reminded me of a modern day version of Helen Hunt’s Lynn Stone from Girls Just Want to Have Fun, only less wild.


Well this book is obviously not a compendium of Archie’s sexual conquests, it’s Blubber a classic book written by Elizabeth, NJ born author Judy Blume!

TMNT’s Jersey Devil

Naturally the JERSEY DEVIL would be found
in the back of a DINER, another thing Jersey is famous for!
Nickelodeon’s recent purchase of the rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has excited me quite a bit. I’m hoping to see the Turtles return to their fun, pizza eating ways again. The heroes in a half shell provided the best entertainment when they were all about “duuude” and “cowabunga.” I understand that the Turtles were originally conceived to be darker and edgier, but I was introduced to them in cartoon form in 1987. I’ll take Shredder, Krang, and Bebop and Rocksteady any day. F-ck it, give me Venus De Milo too. I’m cheesy, I know.

Even though I’m a sucker for animation and rubber costumes, 2007’s TMNT offered three things that the other Turtles films didn’t. One of my favorite actresses, Sarah Michelle Gellar, as April O’Neil, as well as cameos by Kevin Smith and the Jersey Devil! My only complaint is that Corey Feldman didn’t voice Donatello!
When Raphael goes out on the town as the Nightwatcher, he winds up in a pier 6 brawl with the Jersey Devil in the back of a diner. The Jersey Devil happens to be one of the 13 monsters unleashed by Max Winters in the film. As they wrestle around the kitchen, Big City Rock’s version of “Black Betty” blares in the background.

Leave it to a pint sized, excitable creature from New Jersey to start a fight with a mutant turtle that’s 3 times his size. During the scuffle, Raph referred to JD as a “hermit crab,” which is an accurate description of this interpretation of the legendary monster from the Pine Barrens. Although it is likely the tiny creature you see in this film is intended to be the same Jersey Devil who hangs out in the woods of southern New Jersey, there is no official reference to it in the movie.

Before TMNT was released, I thought it was destined to be one of my future favorites. After seeing it in the theater on opening night, I left wishing it was less serious and more like the ’80s cartoon series. It seemed like a huge win for fans of the original comic book with its grittier action and dose of drama. The film looks visually outstanding but lacks the ‘toonish charm of the ’80s TV series. Back when the cartoon first aired, I was embarrassed to admit that I liked it since I felt that I was not only passed the appropriate age for being a Turtles fan, but also that I was a staunch Bat-fan. Teenaged turtles who knew martial arts, skateboarded, and ate pizza seemed like a lampoon in comparison to a dark, serious, brooding detective. Regardless, I watched the show every day, especially in the mornings when I ate my cereal.
The recent animated TV incarnation of the Turtles left me unfulfilled. Instead, the ’80s cartoon style of the Turtles appealed to me more. Aside from its excellent aspects, the 2007 TMNT film did a fantastic job of capturing a nice mix of the various character styles, but in film form I still prefer the live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films.
*Check out Thomas Perkins blog, the man who originally designed the character of the Jersey Devil for the TMNT film!