The Rules of Attraction (2002) — Unpleasantly clever

“Whatever, I don’t care, I don’t major in math”

DnaError’s rating: An ice-cream headache

DnaError’s review: The Rules of Attraction is an unpleasant movie. Its full of selfish, amoral, unsympathetic characters who ruin people’s lives just by existing. What little plot it has (its mostly meanders from event to event) is full of violence and sex and drug use. It employs cheap tricks and doesn’t resolve anything it sets up. A cold, hard movie about people too hip or too stoned to care.

Yet, despite this, I found myself liking it even so. “Like,” is too strong a word. Gloat is better. This film breaks down the teen genre and the college stereotypes by showing them in all their vicious pettiness. Rather then turn the casual sex and partying into a broad joke (like say, Can’t Hardly Wait), the movie tackles them as a blistering condemnation of the bored, rich, and beautiful. Exposing the whole twisted affair through endless parties and an unstable love triangle. Indignant self-righteousness isn’t a good tone for an enjoyable movie, but since I’m not rich or beautiful (or bored for that matter) seeing the shallow hedonist’s icy world fall apart makes for great schadenfreude.

At its best, The Rules of Attraction is the kind of fast-paced, riotously creative movie I crave. At its worst, its a retread of American Psycho, damning the already damned. Still, the movie gets credit for it’s sheer technical merit. The time is chopped up into pieces, going backwards and forwards into the storyline, revolving around a single moment at the “End of the World” party and explaining how all the characters got there. A New Wave soundtrack blasts from all sides, highlighting the numb world of New England Party School Coeds with blips and bloops. The plot doesn’t matter, and the characters are more or less interchangeable, yet the movie runs on sheer energy and ambition to the final black joke.

As a satire of the teen movie and an anti-romantic comedy, The Rules of Attraction more then works. As a night of fun times at the movies and good laughs, not so much. The problems at had with the other Ellis-adapated movie are still there. These horrible, soulless people have created a decadent-yet-nihilistic world of pleasures for themselves. Who cares?

Didja notice?

  • German movie on the background of the stoner’s apartment
  • Van Der Beek has the coldest, most evil stare of any man
  • “Victor-the test came back positive!” on Victor’s wall
  • The Purple girl? (she’s important)
  • The Eyes-Wide-Shut inspired scene with what looks like Donkeylips of Slaute Your Shorts getting it on
  • Fred Savage is aware of his genitalia
  • The book begins and ends in the middle of sentences, just like this.

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