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Slap Her, She's French

Slap Her, She's French
Slap Her, She's French, US poster or Slap Her, She's French, UK DVD

Film released by Fox Searchlight / Premiere Marketing and Distribution Group, 2000

No score soundtrack available

Music clips and examples integrated into this feature

(Warning: this page contains spoilers)

NB. Chris Beck was originally engaged to score the music for this film, but when the director was fired 8 days into the project, a "new direction" necessitated a new composer, and so David Michale Frank was drafted to the job, leaving the only Beck credit remaining for the "Beef Song".

In a mildly diverting battle of half-wits, Texas Barbie news presenter wanabe Starla Grady (played by Jane McGregor) is top dog in her town until her throne is usurped by phony French exchange student schemer Genevieve LePlouff (Piper Perabo). A cross between Clueless and Bring It On (interestingly, scored by Beck but in contrasting style), this film heads straight for its giggly teenage girl audience, with cat fights, screaming, selfishness, fashion, annoying siblings, and the obligatory ignored off-beat prince charming. Marvel, then, at the professional courtesy paid it by David M Frank's score. In an outstanding example of economical composition, Frank uses a small variety of clearly defined styles and themes which follow the plot with concision, whilst adding charm and bounce to an otherwise uninspired script.

This being a film about two warring females, despite its French theme (paid lipservice by the use of accordion), Frank chooses two Spanish dances to represent their determined characters. In addition he adds a second dimension to them (three dimensions would be pushing it somewhat for this film!) by employing a flavour each for their innocent/content and devious/victorious sides. The main musical formula may be summarised as follows:

'Nice theme' for marimba [ex3], and serene 'habanera' [ex5]

Starla, the two sides of her character: charitable and sweet versus sly and manipulative. The habanera is actually a development of the 'nice theme', although its minor-key bassline is its means of communicating mischieviousness

Mock 'innocent' theme [ex4], 'tango theme' [ex1-2], the accordion in general

Genevieve, the two sides of her external character, in the same manner as that of Starla's. Tango and accordion also occasionally represent her malign influence on Starla

... and more sparingly used are themes and cues for identifiable moments, which often follow the symmetry of the film's plot.

Fast 'syncopated theme'

Moments of extreme stress for Starla; may related to her or to French (50'59", 1:01'23")

'Mushy theme'

Starla's emotional speeches (8'30", 1:16'58")

Mushy 'acoustic guitar theme'

Starla-Ed romance. Note the inclusion of marimba (1:06'42" and 1:19'55")

'Triumphant music'

Starla's applause moments at the end of both romance scenes

New beginnings?

Very obviously different style (1:02'28"). Presumably by Frank?

As can be seen from this and the lengthy cue-by-cue description below (use the two tables above to follow named themes/styles below - there are sound clips for most of the main themes hidden in there!!) , Frank's music follows the contours of plot and character without skipping a syncopated beat. As Starla's fortunes fall, so the confidence of her themes are invaded by ever more strident versions of Genevieve's tango, which is later overriden again by Starla's triumph. A small but perfectly formed gem of a score.


Tango theme. Starla wrecked. AudioClip 0'30" (416kb) (Extended)


'Nice theme' (nursery-rhyme influence?) AudioClip 0'15" (125kb)


Habanera-style version of 'nice music' showing Starla's character in full


(Cello music by Mozart)


Starla's 'community' speech. Orchestral music underscore with sobbing violin, rising to triumphant strings/brass. Theme tricky to hold down with dialogue


Genevieve arrives. Innocent accordion theme AudioClip 0'29" (232kb)


Nice theme - Starla showing Genevieve her photos, etc.


(Morning news jingle at Starla's high school)


Acoustic guitar underscore, other insts minimal


Innocent theme


(Marching band/Hornets. Click here for credits)


Habanera-style music as Starla eggs her boyfriend into winning the match, shifts straight into fiddle/banjo-lead southern dance music


Nice music


Innocent accordion theme, opens into orchestral arrangement!, French boyfriend story


Passing distant guitar strack for scene change


Mischievious string underscore, Genevieve tone accentuated by passing accordion


Spanish serenading violin style utilising Starla's 'nice theme', accordion too. Saucy dialogue used by Starla to persuade her French teacher to give her a chance with her grades AudioClip 0'47" (372kb)


A good example of the habanera-style theme: minor-key bass, then major key tune (development of the 'nice theme'). Accordion enters later as Genevieve appears to have been subtlely maneouvred into helping Starla with her French oral AudioClip 0'38" (297kb)


Violin theme (not recognised, but has hint of accordion)


Nice music, extended (and without dialogue and few sound effects) - waking up AudioClip 0'46" (366kb)


Violin music, Spanish flavour, French revision


(Using the same riff as 22'07", but with electric guitar, and rap artist, excellent audio method of changing the normal to the sexy (but presumably this was done in reverse by the arranger) - Genevieve does her 'dance'.)


Accordion music as Starla searches frantically for the incriminating French-tape


Syncopated theme brings back tango-style music now with orchestral backing, as Genevieve has upper hand


Accordion theme (see 10'27")


Accordion and clarinet (unsure of theme), as Genevieve apologises to Starla


Nice theme returns with more tentative rhythm as Genevieve describes her life as "like a fairy-tale", and perhaps also reflecting Starla's surge of confidence and good will


Nice short oddity cue as magic mushrooms are mixed into Starla's drink


The magic mushroom cue, complete with obligatory extatic wordless female voice, Indian-sounding strummed instrument (unverified), heavy drums, and some interesting electronic effects. The centre-piece of film and score AudioClip 0'52" (411)


Syncopated theme (last heard at 50'59") returns, with habanera-theme is now far less serene, and played by the accordion! This scene covers the second tape and its classroom consequences. Finally this switches to Genevieve's tango theme as Starla attacks her. Some nice scurrying string interludes for tension added for good measure


Fresh start? Acoustic guitar and double bass, with clarinet and saxophone with melody. We catch up with Starla were we started, in jail AudioClip 0'53" (415kb)


"Lough love" Accordion-led tango-theme as Genevieve impersonates Starla's parents to have her kept in jail. This music picks up back at the jail as Starla goes through hell. French's tango-theme is now king!]


Slightly mushy acoustic guitar. Ed (with "quirky love interest" emblazened on his forehead) and his car waiting for Starla. Marimba softly in background too AudioClip 0'27" (216kb)


"Ice-cold ass" Marimba goes mad as Starla's brain starts a-workin' overtaam


Frenetic spanish/accordion music as team-Starla dash into action - finding evidence - as Genevieve wranglers her way into replacing Starla in the competition; violin solo added to the mix soon after (ends 1:10'43")


Colour-blind news item. Lavishly over-cooked, beginning with plaintive piano and rising to disaster-level orchestra (revelation) and back to piano, with more subtle orchestra taking over while scene shifts backstage to Starla and Ed - suitably underscoring both subjects. As we shift back to the news item, a solo violin adds the final touch of syrup (ends 1:12'49")


Tango-theme as Genevieve prepares herself for her showing at the competition, and her enemies prepare revenge


Habanera theme returns as Starla turns the tables at last


(Frère Jacques, easy-piano arrangement for on-film children's party)


Mushy theme from Starla's first speech at 8'30" re-enters for piano and violin, with other instruments entering soon after, building to full string-led orchestra (ends 1:17'54")


Bass-line melody from Starla's habanera, as Starla tricks Genevieve into revealing her vindictiveness over her own microphone. Mixed with accordion counter-melody, now in sway to Starla's style


Triumphant music returns from the end of the 8'30" cue as Starla smacks Genevieve to audience applause


Mushy acoustic guitar theme returns from 1:06'42" as Starla chases Ed. Tellingly, at 1:20'55" the marimba plays a nice counter-melody


Nice theme returns us to idyllic 0'55" territory as Starla's life returns to contentment

Timings are an approximation from the opening of the movie.

Webmaster's note: This film is available on DVD and the best review of film and disc I found was at DVD Times

Full music credits

Music score orchestrated and conducted by David Michael Frank
Score recorded and mixed by Rick Ruggieri
Music preparation by Jay Asher
Orchestra manager, Joe soldo
Composer's assistant, Bernard "Leon" washington
Featured musicians:
Accordion - Nick Perito
Violin - Sid Page
Cello - Larry Corbett
Bass - Ken Wild
Guitar - George Doering
Percussion - Ron Aston
Keyboards - David Michael Frank
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