2002, Movie, PG-13, 85 mins


FATAL ATTRACTION (1987) for the under-18 set. It can hardly be a coincidence that one of the production companies behind this shameless rehash is Michael Douglas' Further Films — it was Douglas who played the straying family man tormented by Medusa-locked virago Glenn Close. One-time troubled teen Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford), now a high school senior, is on top of the world. He's kicked drugs, repaired his relationship with his mom (Kate Burton), brought his grades up to par and found a responsible after-school job as a hospital orderly. Ben has a smart, loving girlfriend in the level-headed Amy (Shiri Appleby) and a shot at a swimming scholarship to a good school. Sure, the local cops still see a hell raiser headed straight for the penitentiary. But if Ben performs well at the following week's swim meet, his bright future is all but a done deal — gruff but supportive Coach Simkins (Dan Hedaya) even thinks he might be good enough for a place on the Olympic swim team. Then in walks rich-bitch transfer-student Madison Bell (Erika Christensen), a pouty sexpot who lures Ben into a one-night stand, then turns on him with proverbial fury when he refuses to dump Amy for her. In short order Madison, whose e-mail name — swimfan85 — gives the movie its title, has wrought havoc on every aspect of Ben's life; she even seems to have hunted down Close's hairdresser and ordered up her own head of snakey curls. The only thing Madison forgets is to boil the Cronin family dog in an oversized pot, none of which is to say this formulaic thriller is badly made — it's not. It's just derivative, predictable and entirely forgettable, the sort of low-expectations genre picture that generally goes directly to video. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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