Rules Of Attraction
Starring: James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon, Ian Somerhalder,
Jessica BielKip Pardue, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Kate Bosworth, Fred
Savage and Eric Stoltz.
Directed/adapted by: Roger Avery
Novel: Bret Easton
Rules of Attraction has some mighty fine acting going on -
too bad they just don't go anywhere. Don't get me wrong; stories
without plot can be fun. A glimpse into a surreal everyday world
celluloid peeping Tom er Janet. But when the stories presented,
however artsy fartsy-ly shot, are over cynical and riddled with
general unhappiness, one tends to nit pick.
13 Conversations last season did the
same thing. It pained me to pooh-pooh Alan Arkin's film. The acting
was great but at the end of the frames you were left depressed
and without any real motive for the film. Not even the simplest
of entertainment values. Or Freudian explanations your mind could
ponder. This is true also of The Rules of Attraction.
Creek's good boy James Van Der Beek
is the film's star along with pixie Shannyn
Sossamon and ex model hunk Ian Somerhalder. I have never seen
Dawson's Creek but I gather from the gasps that permeated the
theater that blowjobs and fornication are not subjects the primetime
WB show focuses on
Avery has adapted the spicy say-it-with-venom college novel by
Bret Easton. Those who like fluffy and puffy sugar coated college
films with lighthearted dating sequences be warned. I only hope
this is not a true depiction of today's campuses.
meet the cast of wretched souls at Camden College. Any college
USA really. As they struggle through the pains of dating, socializing
and growing. What makes Rules so disturbing is none of
these people are really happy, or for that matter, very good people.
Lauren (Shannyn Sossamon), who is just trying to get through to
the day when her estranged boyfriend Victor (Kip
Pardue) returns from his gallivanting abroad
Somerhalder) the openly gay coed that has gone smitten with the
diabolical man pig Sean (James Van Der Beek). Sean is an emotional
vampire. He feeds off the sadness of others. Sadness he, pretty
much, creates. Lara (Jessica Biel) is the unapologetic party girl.
The one we
all know in some way.
characters inter mingle and perform for us. But the story leans
towards the emptiness of trying to fit in. All these folks seem
to do is party, fu** and swear. After a few frames it gets old.
Ah, but there's a snag in the film. These young developing actors
each give fantastic performances. Directed by Avery, they show
depth and exactness in the superficial souls of their characters.
So if you're a fan of any of these people you may want to suffer
James Van Der Beek. Here the real actor James Van Der Beek
gets to show his stuff. His character Sean Bateman is a bad bad
loser that has been masked with one of those angelic façades
and stereotypical all American saunters that tricks you into automatically
believing he's a go-getter. Yeah, a go-getter of drugs and sex!
Yeah. See below that "look" is pure horse manure.
Sossamon, who looks like a dna clone of Winona Ryder, oozes a
likeable presence and is the only character we even remotely care
about. She's got a future in this for sure. Somebody give her
Somerhalder, who was a model a couple of years ago, is great as
the confused conniving Paul. He steals every scene he graces.
appearances by Eric Stolz, Faye Dunnaway, Fred Savage Swoosie
Kurtz ad to the stellar performances in an annoying sea of mediocre
admit it; I don't care for this film. The actors are great but
the story? Eh. See it if you must. But be warned there's no redeeming
value to these "people."
recommendation: McDonald's and Beer