By Courtney E. Smith
How does Robin Thicke plan to woo his estranged wife Paula Patton back? The same way he got her in the first place: music.
And how does his first video in the project titled Paula look? Gritty.
For the single “Get Her Back,” Thicke has released a video whose cinematography is on par with how rough and ragged his insides must feel, but still full of plenty of touches of beauty. He and a female model get the Sin City look, with exaggerated shadows and blown out black and white that make it look like they’ve stepped back into the abyss every time they move back into the shadows. Thicke’s skin is more wrinkled and textured than we’re used to seeing it and he’s sporting a bloody nose, another indication that he’s wearing his insides on the outside.
The head shots of the two are punctuated with text messages. Notes of blame, dissatisfaction and even warnings that the lover is about to leave flash intermittenly on the screen.
The oddest part is the female model, who looks like a younger version of Thicke’s estranged wife. For the first half of the video she seems to be there as a stand in, a necessary visual foil. But when she begins interacting with Thicke, rubbing her hands on his shoulders one is left to wonder — isn’t this the behavior that got him in trouble in the first place?
Attempts are made to disassociate or dehumanize her as she wears several masks — from flat white to animal-inspired — that are meant to show the viewer she’s not a singular woman but the id and ego of every woman, showing her temper and bad side when angered, turning sweet and nice when flattered.
It’s a virtual Jungian feast for the eyes, full of symbol and surprisingly lacking in the schmaltzy romance that one might expect.
It ends with no resolution, only the message that, “This is only the beginning.”
Paula is out July 1.