June 27, 2003

SI ORTEGA!: I caught "Bruce

SI ORTEGA!: I caught "Bruce Almighty" the other night- nothing special, despite a few funny moments here and there (published review will be forthcoming). But there was one recurring, totally throwaway joke that while it doesn't fit the movie, just about had me on the floor.
Catherine Bell, the buxom actress best known for "JAG," has a small role in "Bruce Almighty" as Susan Ortega, a local news anchor who, despite being clearly white and speaking unaccented English, has the last name "Ortega" and pronounces it with a Spanish lisp.
The joke appears to be a nod to the minor trend of local newscasters exaggerating (if not downright lying) about their racial or cultural heritage for purposes of career advancement. An old co-worker of mine told the story once about visiting a West Coast city and noticing that a high school classmate of his was working in that city as a lead news anchor. But while the classmate had been white (and Jewish!) in high school, in the intervening years he had undergone plastic surgery, darkened his skin, and changed his name to "Martinez."
I'm not quite sure how common this practice is, but it's quite funny that such a thing would be made fun of in such a mainstream movie as "Bruce."

Posted by Stephen Silver at June 27, 2003 01:17 AM
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