I’m convinced that what Truman Capote did for Philip Seymour Hoffman, a Katharine Hepburn biopic could do for Parker Posey. Take a good look at her: She’s Hepburn’s double, and so naturally stylized that you can just imagine her slipping into those head-tilting gestures, that playful aristocratic lilt. Yet it’s Parker Posey’s extreme stylization, her distinctive way of putting air quotes around joy or despair, that has also limited her as an actress. Mostly, she has thrived in goofy-camp indie throwaways that exploit her penchant for alluring self-mockery.
This year’s model is The Oh in Ohio, in which Posey plays a married Cleveland commerce PR executive who has never had an orgasm. Until she discovers the vibrator, that is, at which point she becomes a big-O addict, squirming around in her bedsheets, then finally having one right in the boardroom — an over-the-top scene that the movie gets away with only because Posey brings it off, so to speak, with such disheveled charm. The Oh in Ohio is a silly, amusing trifle. Paul Rudd, as the frustrated high school biology teacher to whom Posey is married, creates a surly sympathy as he pursues his own questionable liberation (he sleeps with a student, played with sexy impassivity by Mischa Barton), and then Posey, having unlocked her inner pleasure seeker, does something truly extreme: She falls for the local swimming-pool salesman, an aging munchkin in a ponytail played, rather sweetly, by Danny DeVito. It’s safe to say that this is one actress who has yet to meet her Cary Grant.