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Not Feeling 'Fascination'

By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 28, 2005; Page WE39

The movie I just saw and the one the filmmakers set out to make couldn't be more different.

Set in Florida -- albeit a bland version of the state that could pass for Ohio around Lake Erie -- "Fascination" is meant to be a suspenseful, sexy, contemporary film noir with twists aplenty. Instead, it plays like a soft-core-porn potboiler left over from the 1970s about a hot vampire chick.

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Ostensibly, the plot concerns Scott (Adam Garcia), a young man concerned that his freshly widowed mother (Jacqueline Bisset) and her smarmy new beau, Oliver (Stuart Wilson), may have had something to do with the mysterious drowning death a few weeks earlier of Scott's world-class-swimmer dad, played, in a mercifully short cameo, by James Naughton. (Gosh, do ya think? "Hamlet" was more subtle.) Here's where the soft-core kicks in. Just as suddenly as Mommy and Oliver hook up, Oliver's sexy daughter, Kelly (Alice Evans), appears, arousing Scott's libido along with his suspicions as she drops hints about her father's past. Rapidly, the two tumble into bed, each session accompanied by cheesy soundtrack music reminiscent of Donna Summer and the Andrea True Connection. (Actually, bed is the most boring place they do it, preferring the thrill of a rooftop and a swimming pool, where Kelly nearly drowns Scott during a particularly strenuous encounter.)

The vampire part? Although the script is mum on this critical plot point, circumstantial evidence would suggest that Kelly is a closet bloodsucker, given the fact that she bites a guy on the ear and then later is sexually aroused at the sight of Scott with a slight scratch. Later still, some nameless walk-on is shown with, for no apparent reason, a giant, three-inch-square Band-Aid on his neck. Obviously another victim.

Okay, I admit it. That's the movie I wanted to see. Instead, I sat through something whose predictability managed to be both howlingly funny and crushingly dull, with a performance by a lead whose acting looks like he's trying to decide between the mushroom-Swiss burger and the Monte Cristo on the menu -- and that's when he's aroused.

FASCINATION (R, 102 minutes) --Contains bad words, some violence and pool sex, rooftop sex, mosquito-net sex and shadowy veranda sex. At the Regal Gallery Place Stadium.


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