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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Tangled

Starring: Rachael Leigh Cook, Shawn Hatosy
Director: Jay Lowi
Rated: R
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: January 2001
Genres: Romance, Suspense

*Also starring: Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Lorraine Bracco, Estella Warren

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

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