Controversy continues to surround a smash summer movie based on a popular comic strip. Viewers and critics alike contend that the film presupposes an intimate knowledge of the comic strip, and those that have never previously seen the comic strip cannot follow the movie’s plot or its themes.
The movie in question is the blockbuster hit, Sally Forth.
“What, she’s like a housewife or something?” one moviegoer remarked. “And why is she always in bed with that one dude, saying sarcastic stuff? Are they like, you know, married or something?”
Another viewer remarked, “Don’t get me wrong – I liked the movie. Like when the door opened and the girl walked in. Is that Sally’s daughter? Anyway, that was like real suspenseful and all, but then Sally cut the suspense by making her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I guess I know what the director was trying to say.”
The film is a notable departure from the summer norm due to its total lack of special effects or interesting plot lines. Nevertheless, most hard core Sally fans report satisfaction with the filmmakers’ efforts.
“Sally fucking rocks!” one teenager remarked. “She hasn’t lost it at all. Like when Sally is tired, and goes, ‘I wish I didn’t have to take Hillary to soccer practice today.’ Then Ted goes, ‘Maybe if you wish real hard it’ll go away.” And I’m thinking, ‘Whoa! Like, that’s one point for Ted, he finally got Sally.’ But then she says, ‘No, that only works when you don’t want to do the dishes.” The whole theater was fucking cheering. I knew I shouldn’t have lost faith in Sally.”
Not all of the strip’s aficionados are similarly pleased. Jessica Baird, editor of Smirking, a Sally Forth fanzine, wrote, “Not only was Hillary’s ineptitude on the softball field TOTALLY out of character, (and continuity, as the issue was dealt with and resolved in strips #1031-1035 in the week of May 10, 1994) Ted’s reaction was nothing like it would have been in the comic strip. Worse yet, Sally’s bantering with her bespectacled co-worker was given short shrift, although it’s the basis of the female bonding and working-woman spirit that lies at the CORE of the strip. I might have expected this kind effort from the creators of Cathy but see Sally depicted like this is a real letdown.”
The controversy over Sally Forth perhaps an omen of troubled times to come for comic strip movies. Despite having wrapped production nearly six months ago, the long-awaited adaptation of For Better or For Worse has had its release postponed indefinitely. studio source, speaking under condition anonymity, confided, “Test audiences complained that, after a promising start, FBOFW declines into a sentimental, unfunny mess.” Problems have also plagued the set of the as-yet-untitled Family Circus project. Costly special effects used to animate popular characters Not Me and Ida Know have pushed the budget well over the $100 million mark. These cost overruns, along with clashes with the studio over script changes have led to original director Bil Keane’s withdrawal from the project. He has been replaced by his son, Billy.
Whatever the end result is for Sally Forth and comic strip movies in general, the passionate feelings on all sides have led some city officials to threaten a shutdown of the controversial film. Many hope that the government does not repeat the mistakes of the Chicago police in last summer’s Marmaduke fiasco.