"The Rules of Attraction"
Directed by Roger Avary.
Written by Roger Avary (co-writer on "Pulp Fiction"). Based
on the book by Bret Easton Ellis.
Starring James Van Der Beek, Shannyn Sossamon and Kip Pardue.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 10/21/02
After I came out of the movie theater having
seen “The Rules of Attraction”, I faced a dilemma.
See, the sum of the parts is so-so. But,
man, some of the parts are classic. How can I recommend this while
giving an honest view of the film?
I want to recommend it because this film has
the second-best scene of the 94 films I have seen this year.
(Unless something earth-shattering happens, that Yoda scene at the
“Star Wars, Episode II” is going to take the cake on that
one.) “The Rules of Attraction” also has some great lines, perfect
cameos and reminders of how good it used to be to know hot women in
college. “The Rules of Attraction” is based on a novel by the same
guy that wrote “American Psycho.” “The Rules of Attraction” isn’t
quite as twisted as the author’s other work but it still has its
moments. James Van Der Beek (“Dawson’s Creek”) plays Sean
Bateman—yep, same last name as the lead in “American Psycho”—a
college student that also happens to be THE drug dealer on campus.
He is pretty shallow, hateful, a player and an all-around
bastard...until he meets Lauren (Shannyn Sossamon), a fellow student
that also shares a pot/coke/booze passion like Sean. Complicating
things further is another student named Paul (Ian Somerhalder), who
is in love with Sean and doesn’t realize that Sean’s only interest
in Paul is their common interest in smoking weed.
Van Der Beek is really good in this film,
and although I have never seen his TV show, I’ve liked him in both
this and “Varsity Blues”, but his character this time is just a
fucking dirtbag. He makes this guy likable and you just spend a lot
of time soaking him up as he goes through his world. The random
people that show up in this film are all great. Kate Bosworth, who
was in this summer’s
“Blue Crush”, is here, as well as Kip Pardue
(“Remember the Titans”,
“Driven”) as Sean’s buddy Victor. Fred
Savage is in one scene, Eric Stoltz shows up in another...even one
of the kids from “American Pie” shows up in two scenes. Oh, and Swoosie Kurtz? Faye Dunaway? Clifton Collins, who played a dealer
in “Traffic”, plays a psycho here in “The Rules of Attraction” and
even he is way over the top. Great performances all around.
Too bad that as a whole, the movie is so-so;
this is partially because Sossamon’s character is not very well
fleshed-out, and as a full third of the film, her sections are
clearly the weakest part. Writer/director Roger Avary utilizes
reverse playback techniques four too many times and the
so-bad-it’s-good 80s soundtrack—similar to the one used in “American
Psycho”—doesn’t have the same cool factor as other indies in the
recent past, or even films like this year’s
But, you won’t go see this if I give it a
Matinee, so I need to up the ante here and go one higher. Besides,
the montage sequence with Pardue’s character will simply blow you
away, and Stoltz’s only scene has the same “Holy shit, that’s dirty”
feel that Chris Elliott’s character had in “There’s Something About
Mary.” Great lines in “The Rules of Attraction” make it a
worthwhile venture, and it’s never boring. Since the film only made
about $3 million last weekend, this next week or so might be its
last in theaters, so hurry and get out there!
Rating: $9.00 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard