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Moriarty reviews AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME and AMERICAN PIE

The Spy network in Los Angeles is just beginning to warm up to the summer films that are upon us. Soon... All the titles of the summer will begin testing (with the notable exception of STAR WARS which Lucas seems pleased to show to small gatherings of friends out at Skywalker Ranch instead of masses of folks in Burbank.) their films. Moriarty is working overtime in L.A. to make sure that all of us less fortunate ones can hear whether or not to get our hopes up for the Summer Fare. He has already given us a peek at THE IRON GIANT, STAR WARS EPISODE ONE (via it's script), THE MUMMY and a whole slew of Supernatural films.... But today, he pulls back the curtain on "THE MOST ANTICIPATED FILM OF THE SUMMER OF 1999 other than Star Wars"!!!! That's right... AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME!!! And if that were not enough, he also takes a peek at AMERICAN PIE... So take it away oh master of the Tibetan Chant!

Hey, Head Geek...

"Moriarty" here.

You know, every now and then, it just gets weird being an Evil Genius. You start out the day thinking it's going to be one thing, then you turn around and find that you've pioneered a new technology instead. Case in point: today, me, and cloning.

I was working in the Labs today when I got a call from Master Thief John Robie to tell me that there was a secret test screening somewhere in LA tonight of AUSTIN POWERS 2: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME. At almost the exact same moment, one of my henchmen came running in with a fistful of NRG passes for a screening of AMERICAN PIE. I was interested in seeing both films, but wasn't sure how I was going to pull it off. I decided to call up one of your newer reviewers, Segue Zagnut, and offer him whichever movie I wasn't going to go see.

As I was waiting for him to arrive, I was tinkering with a cloning chamber that I've never quite been able to perfect. It works great with nonorganic things, but since that's not really the point of cloning, I was ready to throw the thing on the trash heap with some of my other failed experiments. This was the first time I had even taken out the machine to look at it in months. Maybe it was the time off that did it, or maybe my mind was just in that special zone today, but I suddenly figured out what I had been doing wrong. Two quick modifications, and the Cloning Chamber went online.

It was right about then that Segue Zagnut arrived, and I got an idea. I decided that both of us would see both films. I would make one clone of each of us, and we would then send a team to each of the screenings, thereby totally confounding the test screening process by seeing not one, but two of them in one night. These weren't even in the same geographical ballpark, either. One was in Thousand Oaks, and the other was at the Universal Citywalk. We'd be in two place, almost an hour apart, at the same time. I was really excited by the plan, but Segue didn't seem so sure. He kept saying he'd try it next time, but since I wasn't about to be the first one into the chamber, I eventually used a Tibetan chant to lull him into a state of total willingness. I sealed him into the cloning chamber and set it for "100% scale replica." Ten minutes later, there were two Segues, side by side, both wearing a confused expression. Since Segue is frequently confused, it looked like everything was fine, so I climbed into the chamber myself.

The feeling of being cloned ranks somewhere between having a pack of wild dingos chew on your balls and time travel on the scale of pain. I would not recommend the process until I can add morphine to it somehow. The end results were incredible, though. I found myself staring at another Moriarty sitting three feet away, naked, dazed. For a moment, it was like something out of a David Lynch film, so I threw some clothes on him while I explained the mission. Segue did the same, and we sent the clones out to see AMERICAN PIE while the two of us took off on the long trek out to Thousand Oaks.

When we got there, neither of us actually had passes. This was no problem, as I've been practicing my Jedi Mind Trick in anticipation of the lines on May 19. If you're not Toydarian, get ready, 'cause I'm gonna steal your place in line, and you're going to like it. Very quickly, we found ourselves escorted into the theater, where a woman immediately began to ask both of us if we were the director of the film. After explaining that no, we were just there to see the film, she finally let us find seats.

New Line had a lot of kids in the audience tonight. By kids, I mean under 18. Most of them looked to be under 16, to tell the truth. They were rowdy before the movie, throwing popcorn, dancing, yelling across the theater at each other. Thankfully, they calmed down as soon as the lights went out and the movie began.

We were told that we were the very first audience to see the film, which evidently only wrapped seven weeks ago. I was surprised at how finished the whole thing looked after hearing all the warnings at the beginning of the film. This is pretty much ready to go after a few nips and tucks. The big thing that's unfinished right now is the score. It was all temp track tonight except for (I'm guessing) the opening theme song, which was an awesome Shirley Bassey parody singing about Austin, and the Burt Bacharach/Elvis Costello duet on "I'll Never Fall In Love Again." They used music from all the Bond films, the Quincy Jones piece from the original AUSTIN, and even some STAR WARS music. Oh, yeah... there's a lot of STAR WARS jokes in this film. Mike's been smart enough to make enough nods to keep the hardcore geeks happy this summer, the summer of Lucas. There's an opening crawl that's different from the opening in the script. There's the great, "I'm your father, Austin" scene, and there's a few other moments that are too good to spoil. Suffice it to say that the first trailer for AUSTIN was no single shot joke. SW fans will have a good time here.

So how's the film? I'd say very good over all, but not great. The spark that made the first one such an unexpected joy isn't as present here. Like the Bond movies, the Austin Powers films are going to all be essentially the same story, with a different girl along each time for Austin to shag and with different variations in Dr. Evil's plan. Don't get me wrong, though... this is a laugh out loud funny movie for most of its running time, and Mike Myers continues to prove himself as a man of many talents.

In addition to playing Austin and Dr. Evil in this film, Mike has added a new character to his repertoire -- Fat Bastard, a Scottish assassin in Evil's employ. He weighs one metric ton, and the makeup on Mike is astonishing and disgusting at the same time. He got groans of genuine disgust several times in the movie from the audience around me. In particular, I think New Line can cut way back on the whole nudity thing. It's deeply foul. Personally, I thought he was funny in a John Waters/can you believe you just saw that?/shock value sort of way, but he's not as inspired a creation as Dr. Evil remains.

On the other hand, Dr. Evil's new sidekick Mini Me is going to be the breakout sensation of the film. Not many people saw THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU a couple of years ago, but there was something hysterical and even surreally touching about the spectacle of Marlon Brando and his little mutant buddy in that film. Mike has managed to reproduce that particular chemistry here to spectacular comic effect. Mini Me, the product of a cloning experiment gone wrong (!!!), brought the house down several times during the film, and deservedly so. He's more than a sight gag. He's a funny character, and it's a good performance by an actor whose name I unfortunately didn't get tonight. Watch for his big fight scene with Austin Powers to be an audience favorite. It certainly was for me.

Dr. Evil, also Myers of course, and his son Scott, played well by Seth Green, both continue to contribute major, major laughs in this film, and they have some amazing scenes together. One of the best is a JERRY SPRINGER appearance early on. Mike in particular is incredible in this scene, embracing the absurdity of his character in this context. Robert Wagner returns as Number Two, with Rob Lowe playing him in the past. Lowe does a remarkable job at nailing Wagner's exact vocal patterns, and his performance is perfect, paying off well during the closing credits. Also returning from the first movie in fine form are Elizabeth Hurley (whose Fembot scene at the beginning is nicely done), Mindy Sterling (as Frau Whatever-Her-Name-Is), Will Ferrell (hysterical again as Mustafa), Michael York, and even minor background characters. Jay Roach has a great eye for comedy detail, and he really packs this frame with a lot to look at. It's nice to see these faces again. It grounds Austin in a particular world. It's a very silly world, and I love it, but most importantly, it's consistent now. They're actually filling it up with recurring characters. New Line definitely wants a franchise out of this.

In the end, of course, the franchise boils down to one man, and he handles himself so well here. Mike Myers is a funny, funny man, and it's good to see him push himself to ridiculous lengths. I don't know if anyone else is as entertained by Dr. Evil as I am, and the film is definitely unbalanced in that they spend far more time with him than with Austin, but I found all of his screen time to be a joy. I also enjoyed every second Heather Graham was onscreen, but for a very different reason. GRRRR, BABY!! She looks incredible as Felicity Shagwell, and I thought she was very funny in the role. I'm learning, though, that there are people in this world who just don't like Heather in anything, and I think she was a problem for many of the people around me. Oh, well... it's not like she'll need to work once she marries me. I am an Evil Genius, after all. I'll provide for my Rollergirl.

I don't really want to get into specifics much because there's a lot that could get ruined about this film -- there's a cameo by a big-name actor as the President that's really funny and the last person you'd expect to see in a film like this. I will say this, though. If you've read the draft of the script that's bouncing around the Internet, toss it away. I read the script almost six months ago, and it was nothing like the final film. The basic structure's the same, but so many of the jokes have been replaced or reworked (to great effect in almost every case) that it doesn't really feel like the same piece of work. Mike must be very free on the set and encourage his actors to be the same way. It's paid off with a worthy sequel and a great comedy.

Now, I have to hand over the floor here to my clone, who just returned to the Labs, so he can describe his reactions to AMERICAN PIE. I guess they're my reactions, too, and I'm sure it's in my voice. I'm just not too clear on the rules to the whole clone thing.

Greetings, all. Moriarty's clone here. I did indeed brave the tourist preserve we call Universal Citywalk to see a screening of the teen summer comedy AMERICAN PIE. I had heard good things about the film already from Harry, Joe, John Robie, and others, and I figured it would be fun. I didn't really have any adventures getting in. I just put the Touch Of Sleep on all who opposed my path to the theater. I also used it on the kid who sat in front of me. I didn't see him bob back up in front of the screen for the rest of the movie, either. This allowed me to focus on the film at hand, directed by Paul Weitz and written by Adam Herz. Kudos to both men for making a teenage sex comedy that also manages to be smart and have a wide streak of sweetness running right down the middle.

I recognized a few faces in the film among the kids -- Tara BIG LEBOWSKI Reid, Alyson BUFFY Hannigan -- but for the most part they were unknown to me, and I don't think I would have wanted it any other way. They all register strongly, and I can't wait until release so I can see the film with credits and get their names. Sorry, guys, but I'll just say that I think you all did great work. Of particular note is the luckless bastard who keeps getting caught by his father (Eugene Levy in a gem of a comic role) during masturbation. This leads to the magazine scene, one which made me hurt from laughing, and a really nice pre-Prom lecture. Levy is wonderful, but any good comic needs someone to work off of, and the kid playing his son is an excellent comic scapegoat. He's the butt of the film's biggest jokes, including the scene that gave the film its title and a very funny sequence involving the Internet.

It's a simple premise for a film -- four friends vow to lose their virginity by Prom -- but somehow it actually gets better as the film progresses. To be quite honest, I thought it started slow, and I was getting ready to write it off when it's as if the entire production took a left turn and just suddenly started making every choice right. By the end, it felt like a really confident film, and it played well. Big laughs all around. Alyson Hannigan has a line that I will literally never forget hearing, a shocker that melted part of my ear. Like The Farrellys, this creative team seems to know that if the audience loves your characters, they'll let you get away with anything. If you're looking for an alternative to the lines (AGAIN) for PHANTOM MENACE during that last weekend in May, then check this one out. You'll be glad you did.

Well... the clone seems to have done a nice job. Sounds like I liked it. I'll be curious to see how Segue Zagnut's review of tonight goes. We actually had a shot at seeing three films at once, but considering how expensive cloning is (and how painful), it didn't seem worth the effort for Disney's RUNAWAY BRIDE. I'm delighted by the choices I made, even if it delayed the end of my ShoWest coverage by another day. I'll be working on that tomorrow. Until then...

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • March 26, 1999, 12:18 p.m. CST

    Am I the only one here today???

    by Uncle Cracky

    Hey, I saw "Dr. Moreau." It had one of the coolest opening credit sequences, and Fairuza Balk! Yummy! Too bad the rest was so shallow. Even Stan Winston couldn't save it. Ah, well...

  • March 26, 1999, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Just Wait...

    by Dirk Diggler

    In 50 years down the line, Dr. Moreau will be considered a masterpiece. If it is, give Digg the credit! You'll see little one.

  • March 26, 1999, 12:27 p.m. CST

    What up, Unkie Cracky?

    by fear of a ted

    I think the page was posted late.... anywho, what a great review! Stoked to go this summer. I missed the "Island of Dr. Moo-roo." Is it worth renting? For a laugh? Ehhh...

  • March 26, 1999, 12:42 p.m. CST

    back to the days of Porky's

    by spike lee

    The circle continues. After the sucess of the Farrley brothers and South Park, gross out comedy is back, at least until it is unprofitable again. I heard about this film American Pie, and I thought it was based upon the song about the death of 50's rock and roll stars Buddy Holly and Richie Valens. I should of known better. This film will be just another remake of high school hormone jokes, and all we can do is hope John Hughes comes back and kill the genre again like he did with Sixteen Candles. As for Austin Powers, I really didnt find the first one funny, but it was a little interesting. I will wait for the sequel to hit video or cable. Mike Myers please continue to do Sprockets, it was your funniest skit on SNL.

  • March 26, 1999, 12:53 p.m. CST

    Speaker of the Law

    by Uncle Cracky

    Fear: Just make sure you see the old b&w one with Bela Lugosi first. It's much better, even though Brando has his moments. And do I need to ment Fairuza Balk again? She's a kitten! ..."American Pie" always brings a tear to my eye, right alongside "The Blarney Stone." Especially the part at the end about God catchin' a train for the coast... I hope the song isn't massacred by being played in the film.

  • March 26, 1999, 12:57 p.m. CST

    whoops

    by Uncle Cracky

    "mention," not "ment." Why does that bother me so?

  • March 26, 1999, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Dirk

    by Uncle Cracky

    In 50 years, I'll be accepting your apology. And I'm not all THAT little; objects in the moirror are larger than they appear...

  • March 26, 1999, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Geez!

    by Uncle Cracky

    "mirror," not "moirror." Is it hot in here, or what? Sorry, folks, this could go on all day...

  • March 26, 1999, 1:20 p.m. CST

    There is going to be a sprockets movie

    by Joh Yowza

    There is going to be a sprockets movie

  • March 26, 1999, 2:28 p.m. CST

    I'm hurt!

    by Angus

    Well, Harry chose to run Moriarity's PIE review rather than the one I sent him two weeks ago. But I guess Moriarity has seniority (hey, that rhymes). For the record, I thought the flick was mediocre. The real reason I'm posting is to talk up another upcoming Myers pic: CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND, based on the autobiography of GONG SHOW creator Chuck Barris. This is hands down one of the funniest, darkest scripts I've ever read. If the finished product stays true, it'll make PIE's "outrageousness" look like the kid stuff that it truly do be! Just saw 54 this weekend -- terrible, but Myers was so fucking fantastic. Can't wait to see him tackle Barris, an equally troubled, juicy, hammy role.

  • March 26, 1999, 3:01 p.m. CST

    Ooooh!

    by Pope Buck 1

    Tim Robbins is the President? Is he playing President Bob Roberts? Now THERE would be a scary idea... (except, apparently, to Dan Quayle and Gary Bauer supporters).

  • March 26, 1999, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Actor playing Mini Me

    by razor

    The actor whose name you're looking for (playing Mini Me) is Vern Taylor who's been off the radar screen since 1987's Harry and the Hendersons.

  • March 26, 1999, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Douchebag!

    by BlinkBoy

    OK, yell at that guy for revealing who the president is, but don't point out examples of other spoilers! I didn't know that about Liam in Star Wars until *you* said it. Grrrr...

  • March 26, 1999, 6:04 p.m. CST

    Other spoilers: Superman is Clark Kent; NATO will prevail; there

    by Alexandra DuPont

    BlinkBoy: Relax. I made the Neeson thing up. But point taken, and taken well. Many apologies.

  • March 26, 1999, 6:25 p.m. CST

    "Moriarty" and your reviews...

    by brain_bug

    Okay, I appreciate the reviews and insights, but jesus christ, if you're gonna turn your submissions into attempts at a creative writing exercise, at least do a halfway decent job of it. I'm not some humorless bastard (i'm a lot less uptight than a lot of you riot-nrrds out there), but goddamn, all that "cloning" stuff was retarded. It was just lame. I'm sorry. I mean, it's your thing, you can do what you want to do, but you'd think you'd see fit to just cut to the fucking point sometimes.... movie content: Austin Powers is really funny and I bet the sequel's really funny too, but the fact that this is one of the most anticipated movies of the year is pretty sad. I mean, it's not like the first AP was the funniest movie of the decade.. nor was Something About Mary... that honor would have to go to Clerks, Mallrats, the Wayne's World movies, stuff that's insanely funny, not just Has Some Really Funny Parts.

  • March 26, 1999, 7:08 p.m. CST

    Here we go...

    by Alexandra DuPont

    Good Lord what hath I wrought...It's gonna be a long weekend. I'm in a pissing match with a 12-year-old. Sorry, everyone.

  • March 26, 1999, 9:08 p.m. CST

    the ultimate spoiler

    by Severian

    We're all gonna die some time.

  • March 26, 1999, 10:35 p.m. CST

    Mustafa, Austin Powers 2, Death In The Year 2000, and Jerry Spri

    by Vincent Vega

    I thought Mustafa died in part one, remember, Oh god I'm horribly burned, then he gets shot, you've shot me! He died. Powers 2 should rock, have you seen the toys from McFarlene's camp? Get the latest issue of 'Toy Fare' magazine if you haven't. Mike Myers in his UNDERWEAR, Mike in usual Austin gear, Heather Graham, and Dr. Evil are all toys. They are great. if you haven't seen them find a way. I own Austin 1 and have been eagerly awaiting this one for a long time, the trailer kicks ass, and New Line is heavily hyping it, just on video I saw it's trailer during Living Out Loud and Pleasentville which are targeted to two very differant audiences, I guess they want acroos the board appeal, and they have it, everyone in my family loves the movie. My mom isn't even aware of a new Star Wars move (i'm serious), but she knows the release date of this one even. I think this movie will cut the legs off of Phantom Menace easily. It appeals to SW fans and they'll have already seen SW like 8 times, so instead of seeing it again, they'll see AP, it's very logical. I can't wait to see the 'Austin I am your father' thing, I know I will be in theaters come July 11th, where will you be?

  • March 26, 1999, 10:49 p.m. CST

    i mean

    by Vincent Vega

    I mean to say June 11th not july 11th

  • March 26, 1999, 11:32 p.m. CST

    Lorne Said Ha!

    by Retina54

    I heard someone mention this a few months back, but i thought it was a bad joke. I guess I should have learned my lesson a few months before that, when I heard tell of a Roxbury Guys movie and thought THAT was bad joke. Lorne Michaels is truly shameless. He should've stopped with It's Pat (or, preferably, just before It's Pat). On the other hand, if Lorne manages to shit out these SNL sketch movies for around $15 million and they gross around $18 million, I'm sure he stays on Paramount's good side in a day and age when only a third of major studio pics turn a profit. Brace yourself for the Mary Catherine Gallagher movie...pray this is a bad joke.

  • March 26, 1999, 11:35 p.m. CST

    Regarding the above...

    by Retina54

    It's in reference to the Sprockets movie. That's what happens when you think of a clever subject line at the last minute and forget to adjust the text accordingly.

  • March 27, 1999, 1:47 a.m. CST

    The trouble with Heather?

    by Essemtee

    Moriarty mentioned something about the audience not liking Heather Graham, in anything? And the reason would be...? She sure seems okay to me, whatever she's in! (Even Lost In Space. Yes, that's right, Lost In Space!)

  • March 27, 1999, 3:59 a.m. CST

    Thankyou for deleting the spoilers

    by Martin Q Blank

    Thankyou for deleting the spoilers, Mr. Omnipresent Voice In The Sky.

  • March 27, 1999, 11:04 a.m. CST

    American Pie

    by AshFett

    I too sent a mediocre American Pie review in awhile back. It's NOT as great as people are saying. It has some funny scenes, some VERY funny scenes. But overall the movie is like She's All That. A cliched, predictible film with a real lack of enery in many scenes. However, imagine if every once in awhile She's All That had an incredibly lewd, you just gotta laugh scene or line. And there you have American Pie. It's worth seeing, but it's not THATt great.

  • March 27, 1999, 1:08 p.m. CST

    AMERICAN PIE

    by OCFlava

    I saw the screening of AMERICAN PIE up at Universal on Thursday night too... This is, without a doubt, the funniest, crudest comedy I've seen in years. It also manages somehow to be really sweet without making you groan. I swear, during the night on Thursday, there were a couple of times when I started laughing hysterically in bed when I was remembering parts of the movie. CLASSIC COMEDY. I know people have said that it was coming out the week after Episode One, but I overheard some studio-types at the back of the theater talking about a new release date of July 9.

  • March 27, 1999, 8:18 p.m. CST

    Alyson Hannigan

    by BlinkBoy

    I'm going to see "American Pie" for one reason, regardless of any bad reviews: Alyson Hannigan. The girl, who aside from the great stories, is *the* reason to watch "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer"

  • March 27, 1999, 8:59 p.m. CST

    American Pie Soundtrack

    by dannyboy_99

    For anyone who's interested in a cool new band, check out the song "Super Down" by Super Trans Atlantic on the American Pie soundtrack. Check out STA at www.bvbmusic.com

  • March 27, 1999, 8:59 p.m. CST

    American Pie Soundtrack

    by dannyboy_99

    For anyone who's interested in a cool new band, check out the song "Super Down" by Super Trans Atlantic on the American Pie soundtrack. Check out STA at www.bvbmusic.com

  • March 27, 1999, 9 p.m. CST

    American Pie Soundtrack

    by dannyboy_99

    For anyone who's interested in a cool new band, check out the song "Super Down" by Super Trans Atlantic on the American Pie soundtrack. Check out STA at www.bvbmusic.com

  • March 27, 1999, 9:04 p.m. CST

    oops...sorry

    by dannyboy_99

    Sorry for the triple post. It was my first one and I messed up. My mistake.

  • March 28, 1999, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Blink182

    by VulgarB37

    the band blink 182 appears in the movie quite extensively, not as a band, but as other teenagers in the movie. not quite sure if they'll be on the soundtrack or not, but it's probably a safe guess they will be.

  • March 28, 1999, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Blink182 is super keen

    by BlinkBoy

    Yeah, I heard that they play some teenagers who have a band and there's a scene they play some new song in a garage. They're my second reason, besides Alyson Hannigan, to see "American Pie"

  • March 28, 1999, 2:26 p.m. CST

    One of the American Pie actors

    by The Cronick

    One of the actors in the movie, Chris Klein, lived down the street from me. We graduated from high school together. He is the guy in the trailer that says "They call me Nova, as in Casanova." He could be building upon a strong career base in acting. He is also a big star in the new movie being released soon called "Election." That movie also stars Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, and was filmed in my own hometown of Omaha. So just some tidbits on one of these actors.

  • March 28, 1999, 2:26 p.m. CST

    One of the American Pie actors

    by The Cronick

    One of the actors in the movie, Chris Klein, lived down the street from me. We graduated from high school together. He is the guy in the trailer that says "They call me Nova, as in Casanova." He could be building upon a strong career base in acting. He is also a big star in the new movie being released soon called "Election." That movie also stars Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, and was filmed in my own hometown of Omaha. So just some tidbits on one of these actors.

  • March 28, 1999, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Yeah, well...

    by BlinkBoy

    Yeah, well... Rob Zombie is from my hometown of Haverhill, MA. Um, I think I can actually hear crickets chirping from the total disinterested silence I'm picking up on.

  • March 28, 1999, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Hometowns

    by slugbait

    And hey! My hometown of Methuen, MA is right next to Rob Zombie's hometown of Haverhill, MA! Golly darn jeepers crow! Who would've thunk it!

  • March 28, 1999, 10 p.m. CST

    nudity?

    by GhettOberg

    Waht is this nudity you speak of in Austin Powers 2? Please do not tell me it is Mike Myers. Howabout rollergirl?

  • July 14, 2006, 7:02 p.m. CST

    BlinkBoy....

    by Wolfpack

    ...the crickets were crushed under rolling tumbleweeds.

  • July 15, 2006, 8:17 a.m. CST

    A.K.A. The Pie Who Shagged Me

    by Wolfpack

  • March 19, 2008, 1:28 p.m. CST

    so Blinkboy shagged Wolfpack?

    by just pillow talk