Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
There was a project I first mentioned here on AICN way back in February of this year. In one of my RUMBLINGS, I talked about Andrew Gurland's CHEATERS, which was just getting ready to shoot at the time. Gurland was still new to me at that moment, and since then, I've had the chance to talk to him about the project, and I've also seen a pretty fair sampling of his short film work. If you go to IFilm, you should be able to find BLACK PEOPLE HATE ME & THEY HATE MY GLASSES as well as FUCK GRAMMAGLIA UP, two short films that I find very, very funny. Describing them to you really won't do them justice. They're original, they're wicked, and I really like the sense of humor.
So when Gregor Samsa called me tonight to tell me he'd had a chance to see a screening of CHEATERS, I was interested, and I asked him to send me a report. In the background, I could hear John Robie marching around the Cathouse, adamantly screaming out something about "pretentious crap," but he never did calm down enough for me to talk to him. I liked the script when I read it, and I've heard good things from inside New Line about the movie. Doesn't sound like Samsa's a fan, though, and here he is to tell you why...
Just got in from tonight’s screening of CHEATERS. I have to say that this movie is one of the worst so-called ‘teen movies’ yet. This movie has no soul. It has no heart gives the audience no reason to care about anyone. Here is a brief synopsis of the plot.
Four guys in high school are really good at cheating. They each have their role of importance in the cheating process. The leader of the group is Handsome. That’s his name, Handsome. His role is the smooth guy who can get out of anything. Watch for the permanent and very irritating smirk. Then we have Sammy, Handsome’s best friend since kindergarten. His role I think is supposed to be a lookout or something. Next is Victor. He has Hollywood hair, and he’s very pretty. Puke. He is the enforcer. And last on the list of cheaters is Applebee. His thing is that he can write really really small. Well, they all cheat. Some start feeling like they need to grow up and they all turn on each other. Then everyone hates Handsome. Then everyone loves him.
Ok, that’s the gist. My biggest problem with this film is its inherent lack of a soul. People I am sure are going to lump this in with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and liken it to American Pie. Well, both of those films give us something to hold on to...likeable characters. Cheaters, on the other hand, has a bunch of guys that we are just supposed to like, for no apparent reason. I just read Moriarty’s script review and I can totally where he was coming from. The idea is fun and different, but goddamn, the execution was in the toilet.
The Handsome character is basically based around the director, Andrew Gurland, and whatever happened to him in high school. After seeing the three hour Almost Famous (director’s cut) and absolutely loving it, I am qualified in saying that I don’t mind autobiographical stories. But just because I write a movie about myself and I really dig my life, doesn’t mean everybody else will. The kids are just plain dumb, and EVERY adult in the movie is portrayed as a total idiot. Seriously, EVERY SINGLE ADULT is played as a jackass.
Handsome is always getting himself into trouble and he always finds a way to wiggle himself out. ***SPOILER WARNING*** One scene just makes absolutely no sense at all. Handsome and his Dad are driving somewhere, his Dad tells him he needs to stop cheating or else. Now, think to yourself, what would I say to my Dad if he said that? Would you possibly just tell him “ok” to get through the situation? Or, would you bring up the DOGPORN you found in his closet? I know that sounds funny, and it would be, if it weren’t just so plainly thrown in for American Pie-esque shock value.
Now there is one really funny moment in the film, which is all Matt Lawrence (Victor). I know, I ripped on him for his Hollywood hair earlier, and shit, he is Joey Lawrence’s little brother, but hey, he made the whole audience laugh. I won’t give it away, just in case you have to sit through this movie someday. It involves him talking on the phone to a teachers adopted son and posing as someone else. Now that joke is funny, except for the next half hour they just keep on harping on adopted kids for some reason. I am not adopted, I have no personal agenda, but ten “adopted kid” jokes are a little much.
Another really bad joke was the Asian janitor, Marty. Woohoo, he’s Asian, that’s funny right? What the hell is wrong with people? An Asian accent and being dumb is not funny. It’s cheap as hell.
You know what else isn’t funny? The “weird” girl who calls authority figures “Douchebag.” Nobody even laughed the first time she did it. Her whole point in the movie is to show up, call someone a douchbag a few times, and leave. She is a pointless character with a pointless and consistently unfunny joke.
The only character that actually comes off with a heart is Sammy, but it’s not until about 70 minutes in that we see it. You’ll remember Sammy as Pnub in IDLE HANDS. He is the only character that actually does any growing or really changes at all. I am sick and tired of every teen comedy being set in some alternate universe where every adult is an idiot and every kid is as sly as a fox. Anyway, don’t put yourself through this painful mess, unless you are into that sort of thing.