Thursday, April 28, 2011

Boys Often Make Passes At Girls Who Break Glasses

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. 
High Points
Boy, these youngins sure are pretty!

Low Points
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?

Lessons Learned
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.


  1. Is it me or does Reedus have the SAME scowl in EVERY film he appears in?

  2. It is not you. I watched him eat breakfast at HorrorHound Weekend and he was scowling all through his bacon!

  3. Wow, I haven't seen this movie in years--I think I rented it when it first came out (on VHS!) and I forgot how many future stars were in this. Didn't Lena Headey still have a gap in her front teeth when she appeared in this or am I imagining things? Anyway I remember this movie being pretty "meh", nothing to write home about as your review suggests. Oh, and speaking of Slick Pretty People Thrillers: WGN was showing The In Crowd a couple of months ago. It made me chuckle to think that two of that films' stars (Lori Heuring and Matthew Settle) went from playing 20 something ingenue roles to playing parental roles within a span of 7-8 years time. Lori, going on to play Brittany Snow's doomed mom in the Prom Night remake, and Matthew going on to play dad to Penn Badgley and Taylor Momsen in Gossip Girl.

  4. Headey TOTALLY has a tooth gap! I knew there was something different about her in this one.

    I watched The In Crowd on Instant Watch a few months back and I was SO excited because I thought it would be pure gold. Yech. I didn't even write about it because I ended up being so bored. I did, however, ADORE the fact that it starred the future Rufus Humphrey!

  5. I suppose James Marsden isn't as funny here as he was in Sex Drive.....

    Am I the only one that has a crush on Lena Hedley?

  6. I can't imagine you're alone. She's an attractive Brit who gets naked on the big screen. I mean, she's no James Marsden (have you SEEN Hairspray?) but I'm sure she has her fans.

  7. When this movie first came out, it looked awesome. I was about 18 back then. I never got to see it until last night and thought of your post.

    Meh - is all I can really muster. For me it was predictable. And I'm still convince Pacey actually did rape Kurt and Goldie's sweet, little girl. So at the end, I was confused that Marsden was the Only one getting all the heat.

    I'll refrain from ranting about everything wrong with this film.

    Except it's 90's party culture youth aesthetic!

    And Cruel Intentions was far superior without even trying!

  8. I know! Lena Headey's character is the one who spearheads the whole operation, AND she gets to have sex with James Marsden and GETS NO PUNISHMENT WHATSOEVER! It's kind of infuriating.