MAD LOVE is a troubled teen movie starting two people in their
twenties playing a couple of high schoolers. Drew Barrymore as Casey
plays another disaffected teen as she has done so many times before
("The Amy Fisher Story" (TV), POISON IVY, GUNCRAZY, etc.). Chris
O'Donnell plays Matt, an All American boy who hitches up with the wrong
girl and goes astray. O'Donnell, who is usually much smarter in
choosing his roles, has a wide repertoire for such a short career
including FRIED GREEN TOMATOES, SCENT OF A WOMAN, and CIRCLE OF
FRIENDS. I actually liked him best in a small movie called SCHOOL
Casey is a troubled teen because she has a strict father. This
causes her to become, in the vernacular of the 50s, a juvenile
delinquent. Now, this show, especially the cinematography by Fred
Tammes, is sympathetic to and trivializes her actions. The motivation
for her behavior is never developed and hence her actions are not
Matt, on the other hand, has an idyllic childhood and is an honor
student and an amateur astronomer. The script by, apparently first
time, screenwriter Paula Milne is so full of holes, unexplained
rationales, and unbelievability, that one wishes she would flunked her
college writing exams and taken up any other occupation. Matt is one
minute an A student and the next minute off getting into trouble in a
big way with Casey. Even worse, the director (Antonia Bird) is unable
to develop any genuine chemistry between the two leads. This means
Matt's actions seem totally off the wall.
The director may have realized what a dog she had on her hands,
because she released it with a mind numbing rock music background.
Whenever the show gets particularly boring, she cranks up the volume to
anesthetize the audience from their pain of watching such drivel.
Perhaps the worst part of the show is the dangerous stunts the
movie has the teenagers get involved in. MAD LOVE seems to be saying
to them, try this, it is really cool and hey, you won't get hurt.
The acting is all of the understated variety. The parents,
especially the dads, are portrayed as evil in some unknown way that the
movie only hints at but never describes.
MAD LOVE runs too long at 1:39. It is rated PG-13 for criminal
behavior, a hint of nudity, underage drinking and smoking, and some
profanity. It manages subtly to teach teenagers, who are the only
possible audience for this movie, some bad morals and dubious lessons
about life. Avoid this picture. I award it 1/2 of a star because it
did not quite reach the threshold of pain that I reserve for zero
stars. On the whole it is much more soporific than painful. Vote with
your feet and leave if you accidentally buy a ticket. I wish had left.
I wanted to demand my time back when I left the theater.
Copyright © 1995 Steve Rhodes