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Vanity, Thy Name Is 'Body Shots'

By Stephen Hunter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 22, 1999

  Movie Critic

'Body Shots'
Jerry O'Connell (right) is accused of rape in "Body Shots." (New Line Cinema)

Michael Cristofer
Sean Patrick Flanery;
Jerry O'Connell;
Amanda Peet;
Tara Reid;
Ron Livingston
Running Time:
1 hour, 39 minutes
Contains sexual candor, a violent fight, profanity and attitude up the wazoo
In "Body Shots," the sleek have inherited the Earth. And they don't have any more fun with it than the rest of us.

The movie watches as eight extremely attractive young Los Angelenos eat, drink, couple and sleep during the course of a single night and awaken the next morning with the following important questions: Who did what to whom, and why?

The film, directed by playwright-screenwriter (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Michael Cristofer from a script by David McKenna, is tres California. It seems to take place in a perpetual Thai restaurant of the spirit, a cool, spacy room where the palette ranges from aquamarine all the way to teal. Everybody seems to have an awful lot of hair, cheekbones like cue balls and teeth white enough to read by – and very small amounts of inner life.

The leader of the pack of guys is a lawyer named Rick (Sean Patrick Flanery) who is loosely affiliated with a lawyer named Jane (Amanda Peet). See Rick get three friends to go meet in club. See Jane get three friends also to meet in club. Go Rick! Go Jane! See Rick and Jane go! See Rick and Jane nuzzle, slurp, drink tequila shooters, stroke, rub, have fun. See Rick and Jane and Rick's friends and Jane's friends get it on!

Much alcohol is consumed, and in a more or less random way, several gallons (at least) of bodily fluids are exchanged, sometimes in parking lots, sometimes on the beach, sometimes – this is for fuddy-duddies – in actual beds.

It all finally comes to turn on the issue of date rape. Did Michael (the Jerry O'Connell who was so cute in "Stand by Me" now grown to full lummoxhood) force his attentions upon Sara (Tara Reid), or did she essentially force hers on him (he's an ex-Oakland Raider and therefore prime beef in the L.A. meat ratings). Rick and Jane knit up their cute little button noses over this one and feign melancholy; that is, until they notice themselves in the mirror and begin to worry that wrinkling is potentially damaging to the skin.

The movie tries so hard to be cool that it forgets to be alive. It's a shrug trying to be a yawn. It thinks narcissism is good, not bad. If you say to it, "You spend an awful lot of time looking in the mirror," it would respond, "Gee, thanks."

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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