THE RULES OF ATTRACTION

5 Stars
Year Released: 2002
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 110 minutes
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That’s it! The teen/college mold has been broken! In fact, it’s not only been broken, it’s been dragged out onto the football field and cornholed for all to see. Touchdown!
But what more can you expect from a film that’s not only based on a Brett Easton Ellis (American Psycho) novel, but also centers on the debauched college exploits of Patrick Bateman’s brother, Sean. The focus doesn’t rest solely on Bateman’s shoulder’s however, but a marvelous cast of misguided characters as well, including the virginal Lauren whose innocence Bateman falls in love with and the bisexual Paul who falls in love with Bateman. But no matter who the focus is on at any given moment, you can be guaranteed that within that scene, someone’s getting fucked, fucked up, fucked over or engaging in some sort of nihilistic display. Even the hippie playing hacky sack in the dorm hallway has something off color to say when, his little game is interrupted by the telephone ringing.
This is an ugly film, but it’s so goddamned pretty at the same time. I can’t remember the last time I sat in a theater and was in complete awe at what was being presented me for its entirety. Whether it be a camera shot, an actor’s performance, the structure of a scene, the clever use of a familiar song or even the balls of the filmmakers doing something that I never recall seeing on the big screen before, I was completely drawn in. I might be wrong about this, but this may be the first time in movie history that we actually see somebody grunting on the toilet, wiping their ass, looking at the paper, turning around to grunt some more and then reaching back for a finishing wipe. Not that having someone wipe their ass on screen is any kind of cinematic milestone. It’s just the little things like this that stuck out and grabbed hold of my complete attention…especially when it’s during a split-screen shot with a pretty girl on her way to class. Beauty and the beast.
This brings me to James Van Der Beek. See, he’s the featured buttwiper here and stars as the drug dealing, drug taking, heavy drinking, womanizing Sean Bateman. I had serious doubts about this guy, going into seeing this film. I mean, I think it’s fairly obvious that this is an attempt of a popular TV star trying to shed his pretty boy image by taking on a role as edgy as this. Now that I’ve seen the film, I have to say, fuckin’ A – job well done. Van Der Beek does the Bateman family proud. He sold me almost immediately on the character that he was portraying, a character that even shares noticeable traits with his infamous brother.
“The Rules of Attraction” isn’t just some disposable in-your-face college flick, filled mostly with brats, whom you’d love to see hanging from a tree. And for those of you that have read any of Brett Easton Ellis’ books, you’ve probably already guessed that. This is a college comedy movie of a different breed – think “Animal House” mixed with “Requiem for a Dream.” It’s comedy with consequence, shenanigans rooted in an ugly reality.



Posted on October 11, 2002 in Reviews by
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