The Goodfellas Wears Prada
Actress Connie Sellecca was born in 1955, she stars in the 1997 movie "While My Pretty One Sleeps" as Neeve Kearny who as a young girl lost her mum who was murdered, 20 years later someone wants to murder her. Do the maths, Sellecca was in her 40s playing a woman who at the most could have been early 30s but more likely late 20s and whilst Sellecca is beautiful it is wrong. Wrong is a word which comes to mind quite often when talking about "While My Pretty One Sleeps" because there are numerous issues from terrible stereotypes to a twisted plot which ends up mostly a waste. But it is also a waste of opportunity as two key themes in "While My Pretty One Sleeps" are fashion and gangsters but they are under exploited themes.
So "While My Pretty One Sleeps" starts back in the 1970s with Don Sepetti sentenced to a stretch in prison but before he is lead out of the courtroom he threatens Police Commissioner Myles Kearny telling him that his family could pay. And so we witness Myles's wife murdered whilst out on her morning run. Jump 20 years and we pick up the story, Myles has retired but his daughter Neeve has turned into a talented fashion designer, helping investigative writer Ethel and investigative journalist Jack Campbell to try and blow open the sweat shop run by a rival. Also Don Sepetti has been released and Myles receives a threatening phone call about Neeve and her helping Ethel and Jack in their investigations.
Now this set up isn't bad because we basically have a lot of trouble just waiting to happen. We have Myles fearing that Sepetti is still after revenge, we have Neeve's rival furious at her trying to bring him down, we also have the way of the gangster changing leading to issues for Sepetti as he takes his place at the head of the families and a few bits more. So when we witness a man being hired to kill two people one Ethel the other Neeve we have a lot of possibilities as to who may be behind it. Sadly when we discover the truth it makes much of what we have been following pointless, it's an issue which plagues so many TV movies making them weak because of how disconnected the ending is from everything else.
But what is annoying is that it turns a reasonable set up into a rather ordinary TV thriller wasting the opportunity to really build on either of the gangster and fashion elements. These two elements could have made for a fantastic movie, interweaving to paint a dangerous picture of life in the fashion industry but in the end they almost seem unimportant. In fact all they do is allow for some stereotypes, tough talking gangsters who hold "family" meetings in warehouses, and stressed out fashion designers where the men are a bit camp.
Now the irony is that whilst Connie Sellecca is wrong for playing a character much older than she is she does end up one of the best things about the movie. In fact Sellecca and Beau Starr who plays her father Myles are the real reason you should watch because they work well together and deliver interesting characters even if they are stereotypes. Although you have to smile if not laugh when you learn that Starr was born in 1944 meaning there is only 11 years between actors playing father and daughter
What this all boils down to is that "While My Pretty One Sleeps" ends up a run of the mill, less than thrilling thriller which ignores the possibilities for something good in return for something ordinary. It is a case of good ideas ignored and an ending delivered which is really only hinted at in the last few minutes.