Retro Review: Rules of Attraction

Spawning of the cult success of “American Psycho”, “Rules of Attraction” brings us back into the college life of Sean Bateman a.k.a. the American Psycho.

Sean Bateman (James Van Der Beek), Paul Denton (Ian Somerhalder) and Lauren Hyde (Shannyn Sossamon) are all caught in a tragic love triangle. Sean is trying to
fend off an unstable drug dealer (Clifton Collins Jr.) as he desperately tries to stay afloat in school. Paul is a tormented bisexual who can’t decide who he should love.

And finally Lauren thinks she is in love with Sean until he sleeps with her roommate, Lara (Jessica Biel). These stories cannibalize each other as the audience is pulled through the threesome’s on-going dementia.

“Rules of Attraction” and “American Psycho” boggled my mind. I had never read a word of author Bret Easton Ellis who wrote the books which the films are based. What is the author’s mission? What do we take away from these tragic and disturbed stories of tormented people? I may never know.

If I hadn’t seen “American Psycho” I probably wouldn’t have had an inclination
to see “Rules” but watching a psychotic like Sean Bateman evolve was appealing.
Kind of like wanting to see the evolution fellow cinematic psycho Hannibal Lecter. From that perspective “Rules of Attraction” is interesting because you do begin to see why he is the way he is in “Psycho”. Van Der Beek also goes quite far out on a limb to do the character justice. I liked these two aspects of the film but other than that this film is a waste of celluloid.

There is so much degradation of the human condition in this film that all you can do is shake your head. These people are lost, disturbed, lonely and morally corrupt. You can’t feel sorry for any of them because they seem to need each other. Their only goal is to destroy each other. The most troubled in the film is Lauren who begins her journey in the film by being date-raped. You would think with a film that stars Sean Bateman, he would be but that isn’t the case. The closest you get to normal is probably Mitchell Allen (played by American Pie’s Thomas Ian Nicholas). Mitchell always seems to be caught in the crossfire of his schoolmates’ dementia.

“Rules” was an utter chore to sit through. It was such a waste of the youthful talent we have in Hollywood today. Why does a story like this need to be told? I just hope the books make more sense.

(1 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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