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The Fabulous Life of a Size Zero

Gillian Jacobs, Kate Reinders, and Anna Chlumsky prove to be both beautiful and talented in Marissa Kamin's slightly flabby cautionary tale about a good girl gone wrong.

Gillian Jacobs and Anna Chlumsky in
The Fabulous Life of a Size Zero
(© Monique Carboni)
Even though Paris Hilton is in prison, Lindsay Lohan is in rehab, and Britney Spears is trying to straighten out her bad self, the sorry behavior examples they represent may not be deterring young wannabes from making the same dire mistakes. So there's probably a continuing need for the cautionary tale that Marissa Kamin calls -- with irony dripping thickly from it -- The Fabulous Life of a Size Zero, now at the DR2. Indeed, Kamin's revue-with-storyline not only boasts some pointedly amusing topical writing; it is so topical that it runs the risk of seeming outdated as early as next week.

This admonitory play for aspiring party girls owes a debt to both David Mamet's Edmond and to Julian Sheppard's much more recent Los Angeles, as a desperate protagonist pursues life in the fast-lane only to swerve eventually into a screeching-brakes accident. But even at 90 minutes, Size Zero could stand to lose some avoirdupois of its own. It's at least one sitcom-segment's length too long and reducing some of the satirical routines that don't land solidly would greatly help reduce the flab.

Fortunately, Kamin and director Ben Rimalower have three feathers in their jauntily tilted caps: Gillian Jacobs as Girl, the downward spiraling protagonist; Kate Reinders as the blondely iconic Superstar; and Anna Chlumsky as Girl's best friend Heather (the actress also appears as other confused figures under the program's umbrella designation, Girl Chorus). Seasoning their slangy dialogue with bleats like "whatever" and "yaaahh," these characters follow a narrative in which Harvard-hopeful Girl (think Elle Woods gone wrong) begins to listen to supposedly helpful do's and don'ts the picture-perfect Superstar serves up as the embodiment of every teen style magazine on today's glutted newsstands.

At first, Heather encourages the misguided Girl to "diet" her way down to an acceptable size zero. But as Girl loses sight of rewarding academic pursuits, her worried best-friend-forever reconsiders. For example, while neglecting her Latin Club duties, Girl succumbs to a compulsion to get past the velvet rope at dance club Guest House while wearing the right Prada-Marc Jacobs-Gucci-Chloe outfits. (David Kaley provides the emblematic and form-hugging frocks.)

She also becomes a welcome mat for sometime boyfriend Jake (Brian J. Smith). Drinking beer and who knows what else when anointed a Guest House regular, she flirts dangerously with the possibility of becoming the wrong kind of adolescent headline-grabber. (Projections of David Hauslaib's items regularly show up as scene-change filler, and Hauslaib is a good sport to allow the sly ribbing his website gets.) Meanwhile, missing the speed of Girl's deterioration completely is her well-meaning but clueless father (Smith again).

The young women's individual acting talents equal their collective beauty. Jacobs, looking like a young Michelle Pfeiffer, glows; Chlumsky, curvaceous in all the right places, shines; and Reinders, a perfect size zero, glistens. Their radiance is such that any one of them could catapult from exposure here -- or in whatever they do next -- to stardom of the sort that appears to be Lindsay Lohan's undoing. Otherwise, the most accurate comment to make about the send-up they adorn is, "Yaaahh, whatever."


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