Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 85 minutes
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Well, the trailers might lead you to believe this were a zany, wacky comedy. If only that were true. Three aging, single college buddies, Brad (Brian Van Holt), Zeke (Zorie Barber), and Jonathan (Jonathan Abrahams) are neither as cool nor as attractive as they think they are. The trio gets together with their married friend Eric (Judah Domke) every Sunday morning anyway to talk shit about their sexual conquests. Their routine and lives are interrupted when each meets the supposed girl of their respective dreams, and it turns out to be… THE SAME GIRL! Wonder girl Mia (Amanda Peet) refuses to choose among them and the boys refuse to concede her to any of the others, so all three remain dating her. Intermittent hilarity ensues.
OK. In the hands of, say, Ivan Reitman or the Farrelly brothers, this would easily work. Unfortunately, the movie is in the hands of writer/director Peter M. Cohen, who, like his protagonists, is neither as funny or as brilliant as he seems to think he is. Some bits fall flat and the entire enterprise needs to be cranked up a few notches.
The biggest problem is really the cast. While Peet is operating at a level well above everyone else, amongst the rest only Eric is even remotely likable. Jonathan comes off as a pathetic loser while Brad and Zeke are just colossal assholes — Zeke to the point where he should be beaten early and often. As none really receives the audience’s sympathy, the punishment they receive is then not nearly great enough.
The film reminds me of the work of writer/actor/director Eric Schæffer (“If Lucy Fell”, “Fall”, “Wirey Spindell”). Schæffer is attractive, talented, and mildly amusing, but greatly misguided about his own charisma and the tone he should take with his material. I usually walk away from one of his triple-threat opuses (which usually involve him having a love affair with a model or model-like person) thinking it would have been much better if someone else had done it. I walked away from “Whipped” thinking that it would have been greatly improved with a different bunch of male characters that were at least mildly sympathetic and amusing, somebody like Vince Vaughn, Joaquin Phoenix, and, well, Eric Schæffer.
Posted on September 2, 2000 in Reviews by Ron Wells
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