The Rules of Attraction Fifteen years ago, Bret Easton Ellis' "Less Than Zero" was tamed and detoxified into a movie bland enough to be marketed to the John Hughes… The Rules of Attraction Fifteen years ago, Bret Easton Ellis' "Less Than Zero" was tamed and detoxified into a movie bland enough to be marketed to the John Hughes… 2002-10-11 R PT110M Drama Ian Somerhalder Shannyn Sossamon James Van Der Beek Jessica Biel Kate Bosworth Faye Dunaway Swoosie Kurtz Kip Pardue Fred Savage Eric Stoltz Lions Gate Films
Movie Review

The Rules of Attraction (2002)

MPAA Rating: R
Kate Bosworth, James Van Der Beek, ... | ICE DORM Kate Bosworth and Van Der Beek portray cool college decadence
ICE DORM Kate Bosworth and Van Der Beek portray cool college decadence
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: Oct 11, 2002; Rated: R; Length: 110 Minutes; Genre: Drama; With: Ian Somerhalder, Shannyn Sossamon and James Van Der Beek; Distributor: Lions Gate Films

Fifteen years ago, Bret Easton Ellis' ''Less Than Zero'' was tamed and detoxified into a movie bland enough to be marketed to the John Hughes demo. The Rules of Attraction, Roger Avary's floridly startling adaptation of Ellis' 1987 novel, has arrived with a smaller profile -- and that's a shame, since it brings Ellis' glibly corrosive vision of elite college thrill seekers to life in a way that can't be dismissed. Avary plots out every scene with voyeuristic ingenuity, using split screen, reverse motion, and, at one point, a rapid-fire video diary of a bacchanalian trip through Europe to create a world in which time is racing forward yet standing still: the eternal present tense of days and nights lived in the zombie pleasure zone.

Avary, like Ellis, has a taste for decadence that can't be faked. Fleshing out the author's groovy porno vision of the Real World, he has caught the suicide swagger of college kids who connect by turning themselves into emotional whores who act as if connection isn't possible. ''The Rules of Attraction'' is the kind of Gen-X-treme, straight-meets-gay, boy-eats-girl bash that the artless show-off Gregg Araki (''The Doom Generation'') has been trying to bring off for years; it's a party-hearty teen flick that scalds like acid. The cast is a pitch-perfect assemblage of pretty young things, but James Van Der Beek, as a slit-eyed dorm stud, proves that he can be an actor of cruel force.

Originally posted Oct 16, 2001 Published in issue #679 Oct 25, 2002 Order article reprints
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