Gregg Araki is the transgressive tease of indie filmmakers. When you read descriptions of his movies, like The Doom Generation or his latest, Splendor, they sound kinky and fearless and wild, but they’re really artificial youthquake fashion statements. He’s the sort of postmodern Los Angeles fetishist who prefers polyester to flesh.
In Splendor, Kathleen Robertson, a 90210 refugee who looks like a Midwestern Nicole Kidman, is sexy and vibrant as Veronica, an L.A. adventuress who lands two boyfriends at once — a punk hunk (Matt Keeslar) and a cute artiste (Johnathon Schaech) — and decides to keep them both. The three move in together, forming a domestic menage a trois, and the movie, with its little rivalries and taboo tweaks, is, for a while, an entertaining variation on Jules and Jim. The Araki touch is there, though; ultimately, he presents the outrageous arrangement with a rogue-sitcom shrug. The two guys, who turn out to be junk food-scarfing bums, are so thinly sketched that they barely add up to one guy, and since the movie is actually quite coy about revealing any bedroom details, it gradually loses wattage. Robertson, however, is a real sparkler.