In the mood

The phrase 'biological clock' gets a homicidal overhaul in the terrific monster movie Species

And guess who that is? At the screening I attended, female patrons hooted and hollered with delight as Hendridge finds herself "trapped" by one of her own conquests, an egotistical stud who's gleefully showered in front of her and then refuses to let her leave once she senses his diabetic condition and wants to end the liaison before it starts. "No means no," he snickers as he draws her into his embrace for a violent kiss. Let's just say this must be the first cinematic victim to die by French kiss.

The satirical implications of Species are too delicious not to savor, and ultimately, since the movie wears its sense of humor proudly on its sleeve, the filmmakers let us know they're in on the joke as well. It's the ultimate parody of men's worst fears about female sexual independence, and it scores some canny points about how we expect women to adopt a prettified exterior that conceals all the messy parts within--their anger, hungers, desperate hopes, and fears.

At the same time, Species should provide a chuckle for every guy who's ever felt pressured by a woman toward marriage and fatherhood. When a film can address so many different audience experiences and still make you jump out of your seat, you know American commercial entertainment isn't the wasteland so many left-wing snobs and right-wing moralists prattle on about today.

Species. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Marge Helgenberger. Written by Dennis Feldman. Directed by Roger Donaldson. Now showing.

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