Pros: It makes you laugh (unintentionally), Anne Hathaway breaks out of her shell (literally)
Cons: Way too many stereotypes, bad script, absolutely annoying white kids trying to act black
Ok, so I'm flippin' through the Starz Movie channel one day and come across this flick. Never heard about it before, other than the fact that, yes, Ms. Goody-Goody herself, Anne Hathaway, of Princess Diaries fame, gets naked in the film. This movie is one of those straight-to-DVD formats and that almost always signifies a lame flick. Well, that's just about the gist of it.
In an actually quite brutal opening, we see a bunch of kids beating the complete crap out of another group and being really "hard" with their commentary in to one another. We quickly learn that a rich bunch of kids from Beverly Hills have formed a "gang" in which they floss out in your standard baggy clothes and gold chains everywhere.
Yes, they are all white and all annoying as nails on a chalkboard. One of the worst things to hear in this world is white kids pretending to be black. It just can't get any worse than this and each one of the "gang" members, especially the guys, use the slang and inflection to a point where you want to shoot not only them, but yourself as well. I kept on laughing at the ludicrous way they portrayed themselves, just absolutely ridiculous.
Waiting for the nakedness? Well, you don't have to wait long as within 10 minutes, Anne's top is off and she's going down on the totally awesome (total sarcasm here) gang leader Toby, played by Mike Vogel in a car after butchering one of my favorite Tupac raps, "How Do You Want It?" in a sing-song voice. There goes the wholesome image in a heartbeat, following the path of the good-turned-I'm-gonna-take-off-my-clothes footsteps of such starlets as Jessica Biel, Christina Aguilera (remember "Genie In A Bottle"?), and Melissa Joan Hart.
The apparent point of this white "gang" is that they are all bored with their rich lives and want to be in the "real" world so they try to act like the gangs they see at school. The main premise is the two main women characters, played by the aforementioned Hathaway and Emily, played by Bijou Phillips, get seduced by the real gang culture, headed by a Latino gang in South Central headed up by Hector, played by Freddy Rodriguez, a pervasive leader who quickly catches the eye of Allison, Hathaway's character.
The kids are shown doing lots of drugs, having lots of sex, ya know, the basic "bad kids" syndrome when rich mommy and daddy aren't home and don't pay attention to them. That is one of the mortal sins portrayed by Hollywood in movies, the empty house because of the busy working parents, thus leading their children to lives of infidelity and drugs. In a sub-plot that attempts to add a bit of real emotion is a kid who follows Allison around like a lost little puppy and videotapes her little running monologues. He has a crush on her that is beyond obvious and she screws with his mind in another get-naked scene in which she rubs her boobs and puts her hand down her pants to embarrass him. Let's just say the situation is awkward and uncomfortable.
As the girls get more interested in the gang culture, the more you know something bad is going to happen. In a scene that had me cracking up with laughter, the girls go with their boyfriends to buy some drugs. This is where they met Hector and he puts Toby in his place by forcing him to his knees and puts a gun to his head, making Toby pee his pants, literally. Yes, the white boy is definitely a gangster; LOL!! He acts all cool after the incident, shrugging it off and saying that he wasn't on his "turf," or that incident wouldn't have happened. Just another example of the pathetic notion of playing someone you really aren't.
All this comes to head when the girls go to the Latino gangs home and ask to be in the gang for real. Of course, the initiation is for the girls to screw a number of gang members according to a thrown die. Allison luckily only gets one, Emily, three. The whole situation, very predictably, gets out of hand fast and the situation is perpetuated by a violent stand-off that brings this convoluted flick to a merciful end.
Anne Hathaway, in a complete 180-degree turnaround (I had the experience of watching Princess Diaries 2 on Starz as well and let's just say that her getting wet in a fountain in a NOT-white shirt is the most "edgy" moment in that flick), actually does a decent job of utilizing the poor script given to her. However, she does seem a bit miscast, but that, I guess, is the point of her switching roles so drastically. I can't make a statement about anyone else because they are just not engaging enough.
This movie tries to make a statement about the dangers of gangs and drugs, but in a very ineffective way. The laughable way the white gang is portrayed, as well as the stereotyped Latino gang, all posturing and no depth, just makes you shake your head in amusement.
The way the kids are portrayed are actually a testimony about how some of our culture is nowadays: rich kids that are bored and self-absorbed and need some "realness" to make their lives seem meaningful. But the dialogue is lacking and the nudity and cheap thrills is played out. This could have been a much better movie if some of the sensationalistic elements were taken out and more attention paid to having more depth to the characters. Yes, not gonna lie, I like seeing Anne Hathaway naked as much as the next red-blooded American male, but you gotta have a little bit more than some nudity to get me engaged emotionally in a movie and make me care about the character's plight. So, if you want to roll on the floor in laughter in unintentionally funny scenes with white kids trying to act black and see Anne naked, this is your movie. If you want a movie with some more depth than that, then avoid this one. Geez, I know 99.9% of people who bought this movie just wanted to see Hathaway naked and pause the scenes, hence the title of my review. (Ok, ok, so that's me too...)