"Factory Girl," a pseudo-biopic about Andy Warhol superstar and fashion model Edie Sedgwick (Sienna Miller), has been panned by critics and the public. It's been threatened with a range of lawsuits from such entities as Sony and Bob Dylan. The script was called "disgusting" and "foul" by Lou Reed (if he ended up seeing it, let's hope he didn't notice the cameo by one of the Olsen twins). With everything up against the movie save a firing squad, you might be surprised to find out it's not terrible.
By no means great, either, the movie concentrates on Edie's meteoric, tumultuous and in the end brief partnership with Warhol (Guy Pearce), who put the waifish Sedgwick in a number of his films, thus helping to make her the next "it girl." The movie argues that she helped make his career as well. In the film he discards her after finding out about her relationship with a young rock star (Hayden Christensen, playing a guy who looks just like Dylan but technically isn't). Her Warhol connection severed, Edie soon descends into a recognizable Hollywood final act of booze and drugs and midnight crying jags.
The movie is watchable but at the same time very literal and routine. One gets the feeling that the driving force was to get a movie about Edie Sedgwick on the screen, with or without an idea why. Miller, not to be envied with a script that nods to "The Doors" as much as "Girl, Interrupted," flounces and pouts and smokes to the extreme, but comes across finally like Warhol may have intended in his own films -- pretty but empty.
In one scene, Warhol is quoted on his filmmaking method, talking about how he's trying to do it badly on purpose, making inept pans and the like. "Factory Girl" is shot beautifully without purpose, hopscotching from color to black-and-white and back again with nary a film stock or kooky angle left out. None of this helps explain Edie very much, or why there should be a movie about her. (R)