Cruel Intentions

The cruel intentions in this movie is that of the makers towards the viewing public

The cruel intentions in this movie is that of the makers towards the viewing public. This sloppy remake of Valmont and Dangerous Liaisons promises a lot and delivers very little. The target audience is the teenage viewer and all of the devices used try to exploit this large market.

Cruel Intentions concerns two young people, Kathryn and Sebastian played over the top by Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe. They are step siblings that grab the most out their hedonistic lifestyles. Kathryn bets Sebastian that he can not deflower the virginal daughter of their prep school's new head master. If Kathryn wins she gets Sebastian's prized sports car. If he wins he gets Kathryn.

Side plots abound but fall short of giving any momentum to this tale of woe. The young virgin played by Reese Witherspoon is about the only character with any hint of humanity. Each scene is played for cheap exploitation or shock but comes across as boring and over done. The direction by Roger Kumble is hardly up to professional standards and is full of badly placed errors. The greatest error is at the end when a desert scene, complete with tumbleweeds, is mixed into a shot of New York's FDR drive. I have lived in NYC all my life and never once noticed such a desert on the west side. Even the attempts to reform Sebastian fall flat and are unbelievable.

The Cruel Intentions DVD is technically well done. One feature that is present should be adopted by more DVDs. You can access the commentary from the audio selector without having to go to the main menu. This is a feature not found in all too many DVDs. Unfortunately, the commentary is as bland as the movie. The Dolby 5.1 sound is realistic and well balanced. The video flawless. Alas, wasted on this dismal flick.

Review by Doug MacLean of

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