TV Review

Deconstructing Sarah

Details With: Sheila Kelley

When I saw the title Deconstructing Sarah, I thought, "Hot dang, a USA Network schlock TV movie about Jacques Derrida — all right!" But, alas, it turns out that these two hours of piffle do not concern the father of postmodernist literary theory. Instead, we get L.A. Law's Sheila Kelley in spike heels and a skirt not much bigger than a hand towel, cruising bars looking for rough trade she can love and leave in one night.

By day, Kelley's character, Sarah, is as respectable as a Los Angeles advertising-agency executive can get; in the evenings, however, she turns trampy and calls herself Ruth. One night we find her pawing Kenny, played by another L.A. Law alum, A Martinez, who attempts a Southern accent that makes his character's name sound like "Kinny." When Sarah doesn't show up for work, her best friend (Rachel Ticotin, of Total Recall) does some investigating, and discovers Kenny's as well as Sarah's other life.

Derrida has famously remarked, "There is nothing outside the text" (Man, I wish he had taken Martinez's role!); when it comes to the script of Deconstructing Sarah, by Lee Rose, there is nothing inside the text. Trite and suspenseless, full of goofball lines (Sarah writes an ad campaign for a car company that includes the slogan, "The leather seats scream for all of your weight"), this movie is nothing but a vacuum. D+

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Originally posted Jun 17, 1994 Published in issue #227 Jun 17, 1994 Order article reprints
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