The Austin Chronicle


Not rated, 105 min. Directed by Rafael Zelinsky. Starring Alicia Witt, Renee Humphrey, William R. Moses, Leslie Hope, Ania Suli.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Aug. 18, 1995

Based on screenwriter James Bosley's stageplay, Fun is a harrowing glimpse into the world of desperate friendship gone horribly awry. Bonnie and Hillary (Witt and Humphrey) are 14-year-old girls who meet, become best friends, and end up butchering an old lady, all in the course of one day. Zelinsky uses the girl's juvenile hall interviews with a smarmy print reporter (Moses) and his social worker counterpart (Hope) as a framing device, allowing us to see their actions from their point of view as well as that of society at large. Bonnie and Hillary's rationale, or lack thereof, however, is shocking in its mundanity: the morally bankrupt team did it just for “fun.” Witt, as Bonnie, is all hyperactive flailing. When she first meets with her counselor, she refuses to sit down, choosing instead to dance around the spartan room like some incarcerated Tasmanian Devil. She's as needy as they come, bragging about the terrific sex she's had with her boyfriend and continually raising the ante with her uncaptive subject. Bonnie, on the other hand, is taciturn and withdrawn, the victim of child abuse and ultimately the one who comes up with the idea to commit the murder. They're two halves of the same coin. Comparisons to Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures are to be expected, but whereas Jackson's film played down much of the reality of the situation in terms of both hyperreality and outright fantasy, Fun goes straight for the jugular, using various cinema verité styles including hand-held camera work and 16mm black-and-white to force the viewer deeper into the nightmare. Brilliantly done from beginning to end, it's a simultaneously bittersweet and repellent look at desperate teenage love. Recommended.

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