1996, Movie, R, 95 mins


Overprotective dad (William Petersen) + sheltered nymphet daughter (Reese Witherspoon) + psycho boyfriend (Mark Wahlberg) = testosterone-driven entertainment with a moral, sleekly directed by James (AT CLOSE RANGE) Foley. Sixteen-year-old virgin Nicole takes up with penis-on-two-legs David because she thinks he's just misunderstood, and by the time she realizes Dad has his number, it's almost too late. The lesson is reactionary -- father knows best, little girl -- but getting there is lots of fun. Kaiser the dog and Gary the best friend are doomed by convention, but waiting to see how they get whacked is squirm-inducing in the best sense of the term. The sequence in which David and his droogs terrorize Nicole's family in their high-tech Puget Sound dream house rivals STRAW DOGS for sheer, nasty intensity, and while the narrative is formulaic, it doesn't insult the intelligence. Nicole does some dumb things, but no dumber than lots of other pampered, middle-class princesses. Best friend Margo (Alyssa Milano) may be the town pump, but she's got that creepy neediness thing down cold. And nobody gets up again after being run over by a car or shoved out a window -- hurrah! leave a comment

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Projected Fears: Horror Films and American Culture
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