Reel Affirmations 2004
Review by Will O’Bryan
Rating: (2 out of 5)
Sunday, 10/17/2004, 7:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre
French with English subtitles
REMEMBER THE RULES of Attraction? In that 2002 movie adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel, audiences follow the sexual intrigues of kids attending the country’s most expensive college. Best of Schools is more of the same, albeit without a moment of comic relief.
Whereas Rules was an accessible mainstream film, Schools definitely seeks a more cerebral audience. What could have easily been a French sex farce delves instead into heady questions of class, social philosophy, ethnicity and sexuality.
The story revolves around provincial rich kid Paul. His obsession with sexy college roommate Louis-Arnault catches the attention of Paul’s girlfriend. She insists that she and Paul compete for Louis’s affections. That competition alone could’ve sustained Schools, and made the film far more digestible.
Instead, there is Mécir, the blue-collar gay Arab who loves Paul; there are speeches about the values of majoring in literature versus finance; there is the imminent execution of an inmate in Texas; there is an unresolved stabbing.
The lingering mid-film visit to the men’s locker room as Louis-Arnault’s water-polo team soaps up seems not at all gratuitous. It is a much-needed device helping viewers regain their focus, for Best of Schools boasts a talented and beautiful cast, stuck in a story too muddled to make a point.