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Inkpot Movie Reviews: Disturbing Behavior

Directed by: David Nutter
Cast: James Marsden, Katie Holmes, Nick Stahl, Bruce Greenwood, William Sadler
Written by : Scott Rosenberg
Official Website: http://www.mgm.com/disturbingbehavior
Rating: * * out of * * * * *

This is a film that parents would love to hate. Teenage angst and being your own person are the tall orders of the day. Forget good grades and the type "A" personality, doing your own thing is the moral of the story. Which is why parents would love to hate this film.

Think of this as an updated version of Stepford Wives but with teenagers. Steve (James Marsden) and his family move to a new town, Cradle Bay, after the death of his brother - the idyllic cosy small town complete with a lookout point for teenagers to "make out" and the local sheriff who knows everybody. Steve falls into the company of Gavin (Nick Stahl), Rachel (Katie Holmes) and the "pigmentally challenged" U.V. (Chad E Donella). At first, Cradle Bay High appears to be a regular school with the usual diverse mix of teenagers from all walk of life, all except the "Blue Ribbons" the brainchild of Dr. Caldicott (Bruce Greenwood). The "Blue Ribbons" are the perfect teens any parent could wish for -- intelligent, hardworking and concerned for the community. A conversion of the riff raff, a personality makeover if you will. But Dr. Caldicottís methods are somewhat unorthodox, and the results are horrific. Steve is warned but he passes it off as ridiculous until one of his newfound friends is converted in to being "one of them". Together with Rachel, he uncovers the truth about Dr. Caldicott and the "Blue Ribbons".

It is surprising that a fine group of filmmakers could produce such a mediocre film. With Con Air and Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead to his name, it is disappointing that writer Scott Rosenberg does not deliver the same amount of suspense or laughs as the his other films. The film, although with the rare few witty lines, has a long drawn out plot. Rosenberg's failing is his inability to successfully disguise the old story line to prevent the audience from predicting the predictable. The result is a slow plod through expected twists and turns resulting in an inconceivable uninspiring ending which brings no conclusion as to what happens to our protagonists. There is more mystery in James Marsden's cheekbones and Katie Holmes's belly button ring than in this film.

Director David Nutter's transition from television directing (he has directed numerous episodes of The X-Files, ER, Sleepwalkers, and the pilot for Millennium to name a few) to the big screen seems unimpressive and ordinary; certainly not what he has given us in his brilliant small screen directing.

The only saving grace (though probably not enough to save the entire thing!) in the film is the music, courtesy of the highly acclaimed Mark Snow. With music themes for The X-Files and Millennium to his name, Mark Snow has no difficulty creating the mood with his eerie, haunting tunes. The soundtrack for the show isn't too bad either, if you enjoy the 90's type of music banging on about life.

Verdict: Teenage gripe about being their own person. Get it when it comes out on video. Plus point is watching the cute James Marsden and "wild-thing-with-a-soft heart" Katie Holmes.

Source: Lee Su Fern; Inkpot [http://inkpot.com/film/disturbingbehavior.html] December 3, 1998.

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