Often times there are directors out there that try desperately to do something revolutionary either with dialogue and script or with direction and camera tricks. A pleasing amount of the time the director succeeds, like Tarintino’s “Pulp Fiction,” but other times the writer and director fail miserably, like in Roger Avary’s “The Rules of Attraction.”
I think that Hollywood has a very bizarre idea of what college life is. “The Rules of Attraction” portrays college life as a 24/7 sex romp where everybody’s drug of choice is cocaine. In reality, college seems to be everybody wishing for the 24/7 romp; those that do drugs can hardly get pot, and not good pot at that.
So this horrible representation of twenty-something young adults begins with ‘The End of the World Party,’ because all parties in college have major themes, and it outlines several characters with lengthy and unenthusiastic monologue expressing who they are. Within moments of the films opening scene, my stomach was twisted and nauseated by an apparent rape scene, but is done with such indifference you are not really sure if the woman is affected at all.
This party, like all others in the film, is just a hunting excursion for students to have meaningless, raunchy sex with anybody willing and then goes a semester back in time to show how everybody came to be at this given situation.
While we trace the events leading to “The End of the World Party,” Avary tries diligently to use new camera techniques and film reversal, which usually serves some purpose like in “Memento,” but here goes unjustified besides just being something cool to watch.
As the story progresses we are subject to pointless scenes and tedious dialogue that eventually leads to absolutely nothing. The funniest scene in the film involves a dinner party and very drunk bisexual man. Although it made me laugh, this character was stripped from the movie just as quickly as he was randomly put into it. What purpose did it have? Nobody knows.
The script was attempting to be profound and racy, but fell short, just achieving what other films have already done. So this was neither fresh nor controversial, just exhausted material. The dialogue was contrived, unrealistic and frightful, seeing as without the f-word there would be no speech whatsoever. And in the midst of this dialogue that could make a grown man cry, nothing ever developed and no character was ever really distinguished from another, despite the seemingly (but not actual) different situations.
The acting did nothing to improve the horrid script, which made this far less than entertaining. James Van Der Beek (“Dawson’s Creek”) played a convincing psychotic but could not deliver a good line. Jessica Biel (“Seventh Heaven”) tries to change her image by becoming the super-slut of a picture, and she is, but she too is poor at delivering the script. The rest of the cast fell far from what such a script would call for. In fact, besides the scene at dinner, the line delivery actually was poor enough to insult the already poor script.
The only good thing I am willing to say about this picture is the work that the director, Avary, put into this film is commendable. Several montages and stylized filming of conversations seem difficult for a director to pull off. The fact that he took the time to produce such montages (like the European montage you see in the film) does give grounds for a grade being improved. And on that note, the F I wanted to give is bumped all the way up to a D – . If you want to be entertained, just download the trailer for the film.