1993, R, 89 min. Directed by Alan Shapiro. Starring Cary Elwes, Alicia Silverstone, Jennifer Rubin, Kurtwood Smith.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., April 9, 1993
With plot holes so large you could drive a HumVee through them, this debut film from director Shapiro is little more than a lousy hybrid, one part Fatal Attraction to two parts Lolita, only this time Humbert Humbert writes for trendy Pique! magazine and lives in Seattle (but doesn't everybody these days?). Elwes (fresh off Bram Stoker's Dracula and looking every bit as confused as he did in that film) is Nick Eliot, a bespectacled fact-checker/writer and recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest who rents a wealthy couple's guest house and suddenly finds himself the object of their 14-year-old daughter's budding carnal desires. Cobbling together bits and pieces from other, better films (Poison Ivy, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle), Shapiro tries valiantly to make something he can call his own -- you can almost see the sweat beading on his forehead -- but ends up with a confused mishmash of shock film clichés that ultimately go nowhere at all. As Darien, the increasingly deranged Lolita figure, Silverstone has the part down pat: She's all pouty-lipped sensuality and burgeoning womanhood, but despite the knack for evil innocence that she brings to the role, it's just not enough to gloss over the storyline's more astonishing problems; to wit, why doesn't this guy just move out once he realizes the depth of this girl's obsession with him, instead of waiting until time runs out? Are all fact-checkers for trendy Seattle magazines this dense, or is this just something they came up with to facilitate the sporadic forward motion of this film? You be the judge.