99 minutes | Rated: R
Opened: Friday, October 22, 1999
Directed by Michael Cristofer
Starring Sean Patrick Flannery, Jerry O'Connell, Amanda Peet, Tara Reid, Ron Livingston, Emily Procter, Brad Rowe & Sybil Temchen
SMALL SCREEN SHRINKAGE: 15%|
LETTERBOX: NOT NECESSARY
Insultingly superficial and dumb, and not likely to improve by inviting these idiotic characters into your home.
VIDEO RELEASE: 3/28/2000
Bait-and-switch 'Body Shots' a sorry attempt at uber-hip comedy-drama revolving around a rape
Don't be fooled by the marketing campaign for "Body Shots" -- it's not a cool, funny, sexy romp or the defining document of life as a modern, twentysomething hipster, as the advertising has the audacity to proclaim.
In fact, this self-important, superficial ensemble piece opens unpleasantly in the minutes following an alcohol-induced rape, then -- after dropping that one shoe -- rewinds to the night before and makes you wade through an hour of shallow, soap operatic constipation with unbelievably one-dimensional characters before meandering back to this one element of the movie with any emotional hook whatsoever.
The bulk of "Body Shots" revolves around an octet of generically pretty, largely blonde, yuppies-in-training who talk incessantly to the camera, over-analyzing their sex lives and the difference between men and women in some of the most trite monologues in movie history.
"I believe in courtship," says a sexually frustrated, office jockey, nice guy (Brad Rowe, "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss").
"I mean, it's just sex," says a night club waitress who just got a boob job (Emily Procter, "Guinevere").
"I like blow jobs. I do!" insists a wickedly flirty aspiring actress (Tara Reid, "American Pie") with so little character that she unceremoniously tosses over the nice guy when an Oakland Raider rookie (Jerry O'Connell, "Sliders") hits on her in a bar.
She's the one that gets raped, by the way, by the misogynistic ball player -- who she goes home with even after watching him get blotto and start a bar fight.
"I thought I could trust him," she bawls the next a.m. Just how dumb is this girl?
An inherently flawed mix of failed humor, attempted drama and bimbo Angelenos whose makeup is always perfect -- even in the hospital the morning after being raped -- "Body Shots" has an "Ally McBeal" view of the world, where everyone is either a gorgeous quick wit, a gorgeous introspective pouter (and therefore deep, by picture's logic) or The Quirky Guy (Ron Livingston, "Office Space") who makes endearingly inappropriate remarks, dresses like a prep school rebel and has his hangover Alka-Seltzer with flat beer from the night before.
After spending the bulk of the movie following these insipid egoists around on a Friday night club crawl, the movie returns to the morning after and the rape's repercussions, taking a stab at emotions that are way beyond the grasp of director Michael Cristofer, who must have shot his load on last year's great HBO flick "Gia."
In an ill-advised move, he also allows almost 10 minutes for the football player's point of view -- actually playing the sympathy card for the rapist! -- before copping out on any kind of reasonable resolution by having both accused and accuser admit to blacking out at least part of the evening, making the movie look suddenly like a half-hearted allegory on the evils of irresponsible drinking.
If, in fact, that was their intention, Cristofer and screenwriter David McKenna (American History X") do a lousy job creating even a modicum of credibility. If that was not their intention, then all they've done is embodied on film all the depth and import of a Cosmo quiz.
Either way, the best thing about "Body Shots" was when the credits rolled at the end of a movie and I could finally escape its pretentious platitudes.