The Rules of Attraction

Rated 1.0 Writer and director Roger Avary adapts Bret Easton Ellis’ novel about shallow sex among aimless college jerks, updating the story from Gen-X to Gen-Y without making the characters any less aimless. James Van Der Beek plays a slack-jawed campus drug dealer, Shannyn Sossamon is the girl he has his eye on, Jessica Biel is her promiscuous roommate, and so on. There are cameos by Fred Savage, Eric Stoltz, Faye Dunaway and Swoosie Kurtz, all of them cast adrift by Avary and unable to make much of their moments on screen. Avary doesn’t seem to understand that it’s one thing to make a movie about repulsive, self-indulgent characters—but quite another to make a repulsive, self-indulgent movie. Avary wastes energy on dumb tricks—slow-motion, fast-motion, time-lapse and backward action—to the exclusion of coherence.