Review by Steve Rhodes|
2 stars out of 4
TANGLED isn't nearly tangled enough. When this lightweight thriller works at
all, it is as a mildly pleasant romance.
At the tip of the movie's romantic triangle, Rachael Leigh Cook plays Jenny
Kelley, the sweet girl next door who doesn't realize that her nerdy neighbor,
David Klein (Shawn Hatosy), is really the guy for her. A very likeable actress,
Cook still hasn't been able to show that she can shine beyond her usual teenage,
romantic comedy parts as in SHE'S ALL THAT and JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS.
TANGLED, which she co-produced, gives her some opportunities to demonstrate a
bit more dramatic range, but she is not convincing in the scenes that require
rage or anger. She can do "cute" really well. TANGLED leaves it unresolved
whether she is capable of more.
This is not to say that the movie is a complete dud. As an innocent college
tease, Cook is quite believable. Jenny undresses in full view of David, who has
the hots for her but won't admit it. He pretends to buy into her buddy-only
view of their friendship, while going nuts under the surface. His first big
test comes when she invites him to lie in her bed while she kisses his fingers.
He is not supposed to be aroused by this but to carry on a conversation with
her. This is understandably hard for him.
To complete the triangle, Alan Hammond (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, BEND IT LIKE
BECKHAM), David's suave and overconfident friend, sets his sights on Jenny. A
playboy with an unsavory and a dangerous reputation, Alan soon has Jenny doing
more than kissing his fingers.
It is easy to see which actors had "no nudity" clauses in their contracts and
which didn't. In several scenes in which it would only be natural to take off
all of your clothes, Jenny keeps her underwear on. Alan, on the other hand,
sheds all of his almost on a lark. For an R-rated romantic thriller, the movie
should have at least gotten the basic stuff right.
"I believe in only two things," Alan lectures his friends while acting stupid,
"destiny and the beauty of the impulsive act." As for me, I believe in a lot of
things when it comes to movies, but, most of all, I believe the importance of a
decent script, which is something that TANGLED lacks. TANGLED's first-time
screenwriter, Jeffrey Lieber, went on to redeem himself with a magical script
for his second film, TUCK EVERLASTING. Maybe Cook will have similar luck the
next time she tries to move beyond teen comedies.
TANGLED runs 1:29. It is rated R for "language, sexuality and violence" and
would be acceptable for teenagers.
The movie is available on DVD and videotape.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes