Ball and chain

Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Christina Ricci and Justin Timberlake. Directedby Craig Brewer.
Rated 2.0

You generally can’t go wrong with nearly two hours of Christina Ricci flashing her boobies, but … writer/director Craig Brewer manages to do just that. For two looong hours.

After her boyfriend goes off to join the military (probably to get some shut eye), a sex-crazed white-trash kitten goes out and gets herself repeatedly sexually abused, to be left lying unconscious in the Tennessee dirt for an impotent God-fearin’ black dude to find her and take her battered form as a sign from the Almighty. For some reason, he interprets that sign to mean he should take the girl back to his house and chain her up to his radiator.

Essentially, the point of the movie seems to be an indulgence by Brewer to throw a 40-pound length of chain around a nearly naked Ricci and use the metaphorical chastity belt to yank her about a farmhouse floor for most of the film while Sam Jackson goes Ezekiel 25:17-lite on her scrawny ass.

Metaphorical on many levels, as Brewer yanks the chain of the audience repeatedly while engaging in wholesale pandering. All I could figure is that Brewer has some serious issues he’s working out through this film … and it’s pretty creepy in a voyeuristic way to sit and watch it unfold. Imagine pin-up artist Vargas doing the calendar for a domestic-abuse shelter.

Ludicrous in the extreme with some questionable motivations for the characters, the script doesn’t bother to give you a sympathetic character to hang your empathy on, leaving just the experience of watching soft-core bondage. No demographic is left with its buttons unpushed: black, white, male, female. Even the Christians get a good kicking.

Being a life-long and die-hard fan of transgressive and thoroughly unpleasant cinema, it’s not often that I actually come across something that crosses my boundaries. But it does happen, as it happened here. I just left the theater feeling soiled and depressed.