There are two stories going on in The Boycott. One features its writer, producer and one-woman star, Kathryn Blume, as herself, discussing her feelings about the general lack of attention shown to global warming and the little things Americans do every day that unknowingly harm the environment. The other story is the synopsis of a madcap screenplay that Blume wrote about a woman named Lyssa Stratton, who is campaigning for all women to go on a sex strike until the country takes global warming seriously. Blume originally wrote the screenplay with Hollywood stardom in mind (''dream casting: George Clooney'') but realizing the impracticality of this endeavor, decided instead to re-enact key scenes from the screenplay in front of a video camera and post the finished product on youtube. The Boycott interweaves personal monologues from Kathryn Blume’s actual life with her solo re-enactment of the youtube screenplay.
The result is a story that has way too much going on. Global warming is a real and pertinent issue and Blume has a lot to say about it, but her clear, heartfelt statements of the facts are more compelling than her frenzied re-telling of the fiction.
The story’s most passionate monologues are the ones that come from the depths of Bloom’s own experience; seeing a yoga center guzzling energy when their building is conducive to operating exclusively on solar power, and people in the supermarket who couldn’t care less whether their groceries are bagged in paper or plastic. There is a small tidbit about a time when Blume overheard a group of businessmen intelligently discussing global warming issues over dinner. The despair she feels at hearing their conversation end, ''basically, we’re screwed,'' drives her point home more than the entire retelling of the silly screenplay.
The screenplay, which reads like a mix between Austin Powers and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, suffers from too many personalities, many of which are too similar to be distinguishable. Blume switches from one character to the next by turning her head from side to side, but often her voice does not change enough for us to know who is who. She sounds like she knows what she is talking about, but the multi-character dialogue is recited at such a fast pace that it is hard to catch the gist, let alone the words.
This is a shame considering that Blume has some interesting knowledge to impart. When she sheds the screenplay and slips back into her own skin she is able to cleverly and comprehensibly articulate the damage we are doing to the environment, the most horrific example being the way our pollution has changed the way the planet looks from space.
During these scenes she often adopts a very casual tone, addressing the audience as if they are guests in her living room. In some instances, this laid back approach is cute and effectual, such as the scene where she turns on the house lights, waves at the audience and asks them to say hello to her camera. But when the tossing of a prop offstage goes awry she halts the narrative to giggle, ''Whoops that worked better in rehearsals.'' When the tone gets this informal it calls attention to the fact that we are watching an actor, not a character, and that takes us out of the story.
But all delusions of youtube fame and Hollywood grandeur aside, The Boycott has its heart in the right place, and when Bloom stops pretending to be five people at once and sits solemnly in a chair to deliver a slow, thoughtful speech about the Armageddon that awaits us if we don’t change our polluting ways, the message really hits home.