Monday, August 8, 2011

A Frank Review of "Cruel Intentions 3" (2004)

The Short Version? Teens fucking over one another over fucking one another.
What Is It? Soap Opera.
Who Is In It? Some guy from Dawson's Creek and tight chicks you won't see naked.
Should I See It? No.

Cruel Intentions isn't even a reputable franchise, much less an esteemed one, but the third edition somehow manages to be a pale shadow of even the barely adequate prequel. Fairly reeking of direct-to-DVD, it features Kristina Anapau as the cousin of original series bad girl Kathryn Merteuil, who idolizes her kin's wickedness but clearly lacks her cunning. Kerr Smith plays the guy who wants to fuck her, but is not her stepbrother, and Nathan Wetherington plays a guy who does fuck her, and is certainly good looking enough to do so, but we're all supposed to pretend he's an ugly dork. Dude, at least put on some glasses and get a more repressed hairstyle, like the "nerd girls" in teen movies.

What made the first movie better than Dangerous Liaisons for the CW set was that it was witty and naughty in how it went about its business, while this trash operates strictly on porno logic. Every action ends in sex, and it's such a direct through line that every bit of dialogue is just a clumsy means to an end. It's all about as subtle as ordering pizza in a neglige. Unlike an actual porno though, the sex scenes are bereft of any fluids, especially blood. They're short, dull, light on skin and feel as forced as inserts.

On the plus side, there is a decent soundtrack of songs from artists no one has ever heard of, so at least this one sort of sounds like the first. Also, the film stock and cinematography are much closer to the original, so it doesn't look cheap. Unfortunately, this one takes a mean-spirited turn that's much too far beyond propriety to go down. The fun is in the seduction, whether of the innocent or their adulteration of the diabolic. This is simply too tasteless to know how to get to either place effectively, and crass enough to make sure to stay open-ended for a fourth run.

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