There is a whole shitload of singing in this movie, which is one of its many problems. Oh, and don't write and tell me it's a musical. I know that. It doesn't matter. The singing sucks. The story is annoying. And it's based on perhaps the most overrated production to ever stain a Broadway stage.
I'm not one of those people who think that popularizing something like AIDS by singing about it and bringing it into mainstream culture is automatically worthy of praise. In this case, it's not, especially not when the whole thing is so trivialized by this format. A musical simply doesn't have the same impact as a film. In my case, I spent a lot of my time being distracted out of the corner of my eye by a bright cell phone screen and a group of teenagers text messaging through most of the film.
The story is about a group of friends, some with AIDS and some not, who live the Bohemian lifestyle in New York and don't want to pay rent. This apparently warrants worship. However, here's a practical idea that might help them out: Get a job and move out of New York. Let's face it: High rents and New York go together like breathing and air.
Mark Cohen (Anthony Rapp) and Roger Davis (Adam Pascal) live in a huge loft together. Mimi Marquez (Rosario Dawson) lives below them. Mark and Roger are visited occasionally by Tom Collins (Jesse L. Martin). When he shows up this time, he brings along newfound friend, Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia). The supposed villain of the film is Benjamin Coffin III (Taye Diggs). He's the villain because he's married into wealth in an effort to make a life for himself and he's also trying to collect the rent from them. I don't know, trying to collect rent legitimately owed doesn't seem like a crime to me.
To say the characters in the film are hopelessly self-absorbed and pretentious is like saying that Donald Trump likes to look at himself in the mirror. The most annoying is Maureen Johnson (Idina Menzel) who can't seem to decide whether she's heterosexual or homosexual or bisexual, which really doesn't matter to me, but when you're desperate to be the center of attention, as is the case with Maureen, the question of one's sexuality becomes hopelessly mired in one's need for attention.
In fact, if this film was a character, it would probably be Maureen. However, if the film had any redeeming qualities, they sure weren't going to be brought out by director Chris Columbus, who's made some of the most abysmal films in history, including "Bicentennial Man" and "Nine Months."
Ironically, the only thing I liked about "Rent" was that I didn't have to pay for it.
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