The Scoop: 2002 R, directed by Morgan J. Freeman and starring Mila Kunis, William Shatner, Robin Dunne and Lindy Booth
Tagline: Angrier. Deadlier. Sexier.
Summary Capsule: Angsty teen murders people while trying to get into the FBI. What’s wrong with this picture, I wonder?
Rich’s Rating: I cried. That is all.
Rich’s Review: Free movies on Satellite TV are the bane of my existence. Since I’m paying a monthly fee to receive all these wonderful channels beamed straight to be luxurious Mutant condo, I feel obligated to get my moneys worth by watching the films they show; even when my conscious brain is screaming to me “For the love of everything, please don’t watch this.” I feel strangely compelled.
This weekend, I sat down in front of my TV, surfed around, and whatdya know – American Psycho 2 was showing in just a couple of minutes. Having just reviewed American Psycho, I thought ‘what better review material than this?’. I’d heard rumours, but it surely couldn’t be as bad as people made out, could it? I really need to learn that straight-to-video sequels to big Hollywood films are not conducive to continued sanity.
There are so many things wrong with this film I don’t know where to begin. Oh no, I do actually; the beginning 10 minutes of the film. Now, if you’ve read my American Psycho review, you’ll know a special little hidden fact about Patrick Bateman and the first film which the film-makers failed to point out. However, the error of the screenwriters in American Psycho is compounded by the first 10 minutes of American Psycho too into such a dense mass of utter stupidity it forms a sanity black hole, sucking all that it good and right from every film in Hollywood. I guess that explains Kazaam.
The shoddy premise for this total cinematic disaster is this; Rachael Newman (Mila Kunis from That 70’s Show) is a young girl with a dream; to get into the FBI. However, when things don’t go her way in college, she resorts to that most traditional of problem solvers, homicide. A secretary won’t let her submit a TA application because she’s a Freshman? Marked for death. A guy competes with her in class for grades? He’s SO history.
So what does this have to do with the first film? Well, when Rachael was younger, her babysitter and her were apparently captured by Patrick Bateman, and she watched her sitter get sliced and diced, escaped from her bonds (sheesh, Patrick is getting sloppy) and offs him with an icepick. That’s it – the total connection between the two films. And a connection which, stunningly, manages to compound the complete idiocy of the first films failure to explain that Patrick Bateman never, ever kills anyone anyway. We hadn’t even hit the credits yet, and already I’m feeling nauseous.
So, so far we’ve got a terrible script, an awful premise, and some truly awful, awful acting from Mila Kunis, who seems to have only two moods in the entire film; ‘angrily psychopathic’ and ‘cheerfully psychopathic’. Being the consummate professional actress that she is, Mila is able to slip effortlessly between the two, like David Duchovny’s flawless transition between ‘Deadpan’ and ‘Comically Deadpan’. Under the circumstances, it’s obvious that this film needs a saviour, and fast. Everyone turns to the casting director of American Psycho 2, who pulls an ace of out their sleeve, and the film is redeemed:
Ladies and Gentlemen, William Shatner is in the house. And he’s ON FIRE with pure acting talent.
After the tragedy of the opening sequence, which had me screaming abuse at my television, Shatner’s arrival pulled me back from the brink of just turning off the TV and doing something more productive, like extracting my fingernails with pliers. I realised that with Shatner guiding the ship, this film was plunging straight into the bowels of cinematic oblivion, and I wanted to be on board for the thrill ride.
And what a ride it was. Shatner is pushed to his acting limits, playing a lecherous professor whose class is a sure-fire way into the FBI. Obviously, the Feds realised that anyone surviving a year of classes taught by big Bill would probably have the mental strength to withstand a nuclear blast. Competition is close for the valuable TA position, so Rachel goes into top homicidal gear, bumping off classmates galore; in fact, pretty much doing away with everyone she doesn’t like, or anyone who comes near her, or looks at her funny.
I won’t spoil the ending for those who are willing to subject themselves to this atrocity – you deserve some reward for your efforts and staying power. And for those who can’t be bothered to waste their time; trust me when I tell you you’re not missing much.
As I watched, I even tried to appreciate it as a Scream-style knowing pastiche of the slasher-film genre, from the perspective of the killer. Even that didn’t work, not helped in part by the horrible horrible script and grade school acting throughout. After struggling with myself, trying desperately to find a single redeeming quality to this film, or a way I could tolerate it without the need to staple my eyelids shut afterwards, I realised something profound; this was a film with no redeeming qualities at all. It wasn’t even bad in an offensive way, like The Doom Generation. It was simply an absolutely pointless waste of everyone’s time. Accepting that, I became numb, and was able to simply drift to the end of the film without experiencing any further mental trauma.
In short, this film is a prime example of what happens when you sell the marketing rights of your film franchise to a group of alcoholic monkeys with a typewriter and video-camera with dreams of glory, seeing their masterpiece in the bargain bin of every Blockbuster in the land.
For the sake of your sanity, and my faith in humanity, please avoid this film. I suffered; you don’t have to.
- In the flashback sequence with Patrick Bateman, he is wearing his gel face mask, Jason-style, even though he never actually kills anyone wearing it in American Psycho?
- Filmed with a budget of $3 million in just 20 days. And boy, can you tell.
- The soundtrack is a bizarre collection of ballady country songs and the obligatory young punk rawk! soundtrack which accompanies every film set in a college, regardless of the actual content of the film.
- If you’ve made it to the credits, you’re probably too numb to move. However, there’s nothing worth staying for, apart from the euphoric moment when the screen goes black and you know it’s over.
To give you an idea of how bad this film is, not only can I not remember a single quote from it from two days ago, but IMDB doesn’t even have any listed.
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