State Assemblywoman Michele Fiore has demonstrated more flair for notoriety than policy. If she’s not mass-releasing Christmas cards of her entire family heavily armed and apparently ready to work a shift at Target, she’s trying to sell, donate or plain ol’ give away pinup calendars of herself clutching an assortment of Berettas and Glocks.
But a decade ago, Fiore approached showbiz through more conventional means. She co-wrote, produced and starred in Siren, a D-grade version of one of those Lifetime movie channel potboilers about Tori Spelling fighting the odds or Valerie Bertinelli finding true love. Fiore plays Storm Fagan, a stay-at-home mom with a kid at college, a husband working long hours and a dream.
After a successful karaoke night at the Bootlegger, Storm decides to return to her long-abandoned singing career—before being confronted with the reality that she is plus-sized and pushing 40. Cue unsuccessful audition montage! Cue workout montage! Cue montage of Storm checking out various “scenes” clad in thematic attire, including banana-clipped braids for a hip-hop show—although the silly outfits are preferable to the lingerie bits. (Close-up in a thong: You’ve been warned.)
Storm starts her own band: Nerdy keyboardist, cowboy bass player, guitarist whose black wig and press-on neck tattoos came from the Savers Halloween collection. Storm is made over with a corona of uncombed bleached hair, a slash of fuchsia lip gloss and a penchant for purple Lycra. She’s also corseted within an inch of her life—any dramatic tension in Siren comes from waiting for the boning to give way with a resounding WHAANG!, possibly taking out a crew member’s eye.
The idea that women can be creative, successful and alluring past a certain age and a certain size is compelling, but in Siren, it’s an issue voided by the application of Clairol and Spanx. The whole movie is disconnected from reality: Kids go off to college by hopping into a friend’s car with a single suitcase, bands get gigs by taking out newspaper ads, Storm gets a manager by bursting into offices and limos. Said manager is played by Erin Gray, once of the white spandex jumpsuit in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, now given to utterances such as, “The rockin’ pneumonia and the boogie-woogie flu: You’ve got it bad.”
As Storm’s star ascends to a tour of the Southwest—“We’re playing Reno!”—hubby gets hot under his polo collar and announces that music “is something you do in your spare time, like Amway!” His wife’s slutty best friend immediately gloms on to him. Storm herself goes from zero to Janis Joplin in one night, staggering around “drunk” onstage before nearly succumbing to the come-on of a “hard-core lesbo”—no, our heroine doesn’t whip out a .38 to defend her virtue from the horrors of pussy and pot.
Like most vanity projects, Siren isn’t good or even so bad it’s good. But Fiore does have a fine singing voice: If she really wanted to make the world a better place, she’d probably do better singing Pat Benatar in a lounge than playing Annie Oakley in the Legislature.