Director: Barbara Kopple
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips, Freddy Rodriguez, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Biehn, and Anne Hathaway's Boobs.
Netflix Predicted Score: 1.9 stars
One of my great disappointments with the 30 Days of Hate feature thus far has been a distinct lack of hilariously terrible films. We've had boring terrible, depressing terrible, confusing terrible, and just flat-out terrible-terrible, but not a great deal of the kind of terrible that inspires hysterical, cackling laughter. Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby declare that drought dead. For your consideration, I present to you: Havoc.
Far more so than something like 18-Year-Old Virgin, Havoc is like some kind of incredible, accidental teen sex comedy, featuring myriad ludicrous situations, amazing over-acting, and copious amounts of Anne Hathaway's boobs. I think this movie is actually trying to tell some kind of semi-serious story about what happens when spoiled, over-protected rich kids take their fantasies of living a more dangerous lifestyle too far, but between the cartoonish depictions of the "gangsta" lifestyle, the incredible abundance of whiteboy gangsterism, and Anne-fucking-Hathaway trying so, so desperately hard to break out of her "good girl" image, what we end up with is the funniest movie I've seen in ages.
The Premise: Get ready to see Anne Hathaway like you've NEVER SEEN HER BEFORE...unless you've already gone trolling for Internet clips of her various topless scenes in this movie. Hathaway plays Allison, a severely privileged and entirely vacuous LA high school girl who hangs out with a crew of pathetic white kids who have co-opted "gangsta" culture to the point of half-disgusting parody. The whole set-up screams Less Than Zero with Eminem wannabes. It's all about these bored ass kids running around, wreaking completely harmless levels of "havoc" in their whitebread world, having preposterously vacant sex and pretending like they're hard as fuck.
That all changes one night when Hathaway, her pathetic boyfriend, and a couple of their friends (the ultra-slutty Bijou Phillips, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who seems like the only person who knows exactly how stupid this movie is and is choosing to revel in it) make a dangerous venture to East LA to buy some drugs from real, honest-to-God Latino gang-bangers. After Hathaway's boy toy is more or less emasculated by a take-no-shit gangster (Rodriguez), she finds herself dangerously drawn to the dark, mysterious world of "the streets."
How Does All of That Go? As fantastically ridiculous as you could possibly hope for. Hathaway and Phillips go whole hog into this new found world, cozying up to Rodriguez and his gang of depthless Latino gang member stereotypes. The script goes well out of its way to highlight just how out of control these girls are and just how dangerous what they're getting into is. Just take this scene where Hathaway gets all coked up and wants to go visit gangland again. Keep a special ear out for the tremendous line of dialogue that signals "this is clearly a line from a screenplay, and not something a real human being would ever say."
Of course, as soon as she starts flirting with real danger, every single white person in her life starts warning her of exactly how crazy what she's getting into is. Her parents, who are predictably unavailable and self-centered, scold her rigorously when she gets arrested while hanging out with drug dealers--not that that stops her. Her boyfriend and his buddies seem totally dumbfounded by the idea of her hanging out with actual gangsters as opposed to the fake-ass gangsters she's typically been accustomed to.
How Over the Top Is the Situation In Which She Realizes She's Gone "Too Far?" Entirely! Like, as in her and Bijou Phillips getting gang-banged by gang bangers! Actually, Hathaway lucks out and only has to sleep with Rodriguez in order to get "initiated" into the gang. Phillips? She's gotta give it up to the rest of the homies. This scene is handled with all the deft care of a particularly seedy after-school special. Hathaway of course changes her mind and "rescues" Phillips, only to have her file charges for rape against Rodriguez and crew the next day. This leads to a particularly amusing situation in which the fake gangster boys decide to get guns (including one of their dad's elephant guns) and go ripshit through East LA. The scene of these knuckleheads mugging for the camera and showing off how fully "strapped" they are is pretty much worth the price of admission alone (that and the boobs, of course).
Precisely How Goofy Is All This White Boy Gangsterism? I can scarcely begin to describe the feverish laughter with which I found myself stricken as I watched this movie. Anne Hathaway attempting a persona that is even remotely "street" is something truly glorious to behold, as is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who I think must have studied for his role by exclusively watching drug-addled informant characters on Miami Vice. Also, is it just me, or is it completely perfect that Channing Tatum is in this movie?
You know, here's a pretty good clip to show you exactly how absurd all of this is.
So, Anne Hathaway's Boobs...Good Right? Yup.
What Kind of Terrible Is This Movie? The kind you want to watch. This is a colossally stupid movie featuring colossally stupid characters doing colossally stupid things, and it is uproariously funny from start to finish. The more seriously it takes itself, the funnier it gets. I can totally understand why Hathaway, in some half-desperate fit of wanting to re-do her image as a squeaky clean kind of actress, would want to take on a movie like this, but I somehow doubt she intended her performance here to inspire insane giggle fits in the viewer, of which I suffered many. By all means, this is a bad movie, but it's the kind of comedically bad I absolutely think people should watch, and not just for Anne Hathaway's frequent toplessness...though that doesn't hurt the movie's cause, either.
Tomorrow: Evil Remains