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BODY SHOTS

Four guys - Rick (Sean Patrick Flannery), Michael (Jerry O'Connell), Trent (Ron Livingston) and Shawn (Brad Rowe); four girls - Jane (Amanda Peet), Sara (Tara Reid), Whitney (Emily Proctor) and Emma (Sybil Temchen). They're young, attractive and financially independent. Almost every night they can be found where every self-respecting party animal should be - on the nightclub circuit, plying each other with drinks and drugs, and later, if their brains are not too addled, in the back of a car or the nearest apartment copulating like rabbits. But hedonism has its price, and one night, a dishevelled Sara shocks the group by accusing Michael of rape. An investigation begins and conflicting versions of events spills forth. For eight jaded twenty-somethings it's the day the laughter and the party life comes to a grinding halt.

"Here are some basic make-it-yourself instructions for those who may not get a chance to see this movie at the local multiplex. First, switch on your screenplay blender. Now, add one pinch of Beverly Hills 90210, a sprinkling of Party of Five and a liberal helping of Dawson's Creek, then lace it with a heady cocktail of booze, sex and dope and the obligatory stream of profanities (this is an R-rated theatrical release, remember) and voila - you have Body Shots. After scaling dramatic heights with the powerhouse American History X, writer David McKenna (no doubt with one hand down his pants) has gone the slummer's route with an operatic pot-boiler aimed squarely at television's built-in audience. That same audience (the 14 to 25 year-old bracket) happens to be the demographic group that holds sway over the movie box-office so it's not hard to see where McKenna's priorities lie. Or director Michael Cristofer's as well, for that matter. In its defense, Body Shots does show signs of formula tampering, so it's not a completely lost cause. Pivoting on a narrative divided into three acts, each with its specific title card, the film devolves to its central theme (the rape charge) with a convoluted melange of flashbacks and reconstructions which would do even Days Of Our Lives proud. And, of course, having a photogenic gaggle of expensively attired, well-groomed actors (particularly a scene-stealing Ron Livingston) doing the emoting doesn't hurt either. The verdict? Kitsch with conviction, schlock without end. You have been warned."
Leo Cameron

"What a slow and shallow bunch of nonsense this is. For a movie that proclaims to examine date rape, it is all surface and no substance. Perhaps director Michael Cristofer sees the lives of today's twenty-somethings in this way and thus chose to present his film as a showy piece of nothing. Strange choice. There's really no plot to speak of. Merely snippets of the participants lives; shallow snippets at that. The characters are stereotypes in the extreme, from the football star to the hotshot lawyer. And then there are the women. Oh my. One of them is a lawyer so perhaps that's somehow progressive but all are very much in the vein of Beverley Hills 90210 blondes allowed on to the big screen for a night of drinking and sex talk. Hip? Drip more like it. Cristofer's choice of direct to camera insights into the character's thoughts may have worked had writer David McKenna given them any. McKenna, responsible for American History X which had a similarly paper-thin storyline, seems to need a director who is very much in touch with the subject matter in order for his scripts to fly. Cristofer, winner of a Director's Guild of America award for a HBO movie (Gia), was the wrong choice here. In the accompanying publicity notes, Cristofer talks about how he was initially unsure if the project was really for him. He should have stuck with his gut instinct. On the positive side, we are rewarded for sitting through this absurd nonsense with a beautiful song at the end."
Lee Gough

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 1

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

BODY SHOTS (R)
(US)

CAST: Sean Patrick Flannery, Jerry O’Connell, Amanda Peet, Tara Reid, Ron Livingston, Emily Procter, Brad Rowe.

DIRECTOR: Michael Cristofer

PRODUCER: Jennifer Keohane, Harry Colomby

SCRIPT: David McKenna

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Rodrigo Garcia

EDITOR: Eric Sears

MUSIC: Mark Isham

PRODUCTION DESIGN: David J. Bomba

RUNNING TIME: 102 min

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 25, 2000







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