Cruel Intentions

Bomb Rating: 

This seems to be Hollywood's philosophy du jour: Let's stick hot,popular stars in old, worn-out stories so that untalented, inexperienced directors can pander to the lucrative 13-to -24 demographic. In this case, the hot, popular stars are Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon and Selma Blair. The talentless director is Roger Kumble, whose resume doesn't read "director" or "writer" or even "co-writer." The best the production notes can say is that he "contributed his writing talents to several films." I think that means he signed for the pizzas.

Two scenes in this feeble "Dangerous Liasons" remake epitomize the sort of wretched artistic mutation produced when marketing inbreeds with no-talent mannequins like Gellar and company. First, Kathryn (Gellar) offers herself to Sebastian (Phillippe) in exchange for his agreement to seduce virginal Annette (Reese Witherspoon). She coos: "You can stick it anywhere you want." Ooooh, Buffy be bad. Pardon my crassness, but I couldn't help thinking a notation on the script under "Plot Point 1" said something like, "Stepbrother agrees to retarded game so he can fuck stepsister in ass." Exactly how does one go about pitching that?

The second scene is when Sebastian finally does boff Annette, and Roger "creative genius" Kumble feels compelled to score the activities with a song containing the lyrics, "I'm ready. I'm fine." It's like cinema for the blind.

Unfortunately, the acting rivals the direction for sheer insipidness. Annette is supposed to be this brainy girl who sees right through Sebastian, but of course eventually gives in to his charms. Of course Kumble marks this occasion with a song called something like "I've Flicked on My Charm" (though if Phillippe flicked on any such thing, I must have missed it while I was doubled over dry-heaving). Then there's Gellar, who wears dresses so tight you can read the labels on her underwear, always the mark that some deep existentialist thinking has gone into the making of a film.

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