One of my (many) guilty pleasures is the subgenre I like to call Slick Pretty People Thrillers. You know the type. Typically late ‘90s PG13 rated sagas that often pit the easily corruptible poor against the perfeclty dressed (and only ever suggestively undressed) rich. Everybdy’s fashion comes from the closet racks of Gossip Girl before any Gossip Girls were wearing Victoria's Secret diapers.
Hence 2000’s Gossip, a glossy NYC univeristy (but not NYU) based tale starring such attractive future stars as James Marsden, Kate Hudson, Norman Reedus, Lena Headey, and...Edward James Olmos.
Quick Plot: A trio of mismatched college friends gets inspired by communications professor Eric Bogosian to do their final project on how rumors spread. Smart and sensible Jones (Headly) decides to aim their attack at the rich blond prude Naomi (a pre-Almost Famous and therefore, almost famous Hudson), telling the school that the infamous good girl had sex with forever ‘90s teen Joshua Pacey Jackson. With the help of chiseled rich boy Derrick (Marsden) and the shy artist Travis (Reedus) the team quickly set their plan into action.
Silly spoiled young people with no sense of compassion. Don’t you know making up stories will lead to rape accusations, police investigations, tragic suicides, friendship ripples and broken glasses?
Hollah that, broken glasses. I counted at least three moments wherin a character dropped or threw their beverage with smashing results. I think there’s more such shots of these than uses of “Noooooooooooooooo!” in Gangland.
So if you’re a broken glass fetishist, this one’s for you. As for the rest, Gossip isn’t quite as bad-to-good as I expected (or let’s be honest, hoped). The actors all commit admirably like the fresh young things they once were (and in Marsden’s perennial youth, are), and the overall plotting feels both believable and elevated to the ‘this can happen, but only to gorgeous people with great hair’ kind of way. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t go quite as far with its sleaze factor, ultimately feeling more like a star-studded Law and Order episode than anything else.
Boy, these youngins sure are pretty!
There’s no real likable character in the bunch. Though Headey’s Jones opens the film with narration that’s supposed to make us think she’s moral, her decisions are rarely that much better than Derrick’s. Travis doesn’t ever seem strong enough to root for and hence, who are we supposed to care about again?
Occasionally in an academic environment we try to think about the world we live in
Telling folks that your dad is Mick Jagger won’t get you chicks, but it will get you a free round of fancy martinis
Gossip is bad, mmkay?
The only reason I watched Gossip is because it was streaming on Netflix until April. April hath passed, and I can’t really see any reason to obtain the disc--providing, of course, that the slow motion of dropping of glasses doesn’t make you feel tingly--but if it puts itself in front of your face on cable or Instant Watch, eh. The people are pretty. And that is that.