Outlawvern.com’s heroic master of coding Clubside Chris has been going through the old reviews as part of preparing some new features, and he’s noticed that we’re missing a few things. Back in the day he tried to grab all my old Ain’t It Cool reviews, but he’s noticed some that reference other reviews we don’t have in the archive and can’t find on that difficult-to-search websight. For example I definitely remember writing about CABIN FEVER when it played the Seattle International Film Festival in 2003, and we’ve found other people’s reviews that referred to mine (like this one) but haven’t been able to find my actual review. So if some adventurer out there wants to be The Phantom, go find that artifact and return it to the original owner, it would be appreciated!
Luckily I was able to find the text of one (1) of the pieces Chris was looking for in an email reply buried deep in my inbox. So today I am vaguely semi-proud-ish to present for the historical record, and for the benefit of future generations, a goofy, dated review I wrote 18 years ago (in Spring of 2004) of a straight to video sequel most people forgot (or never knew) existed. I did not polish anything, but I added five parenthetical notes from the future about what some of the people referred to have been up to since I originally wrote the review.
I know you fellas haven’t found much use for my last couple reviews (the hellboy one and the kill bill one) but boys, this is the big one. I know this is something you don’t have a review of yet and you are chomping at the god damn bit for this one. You’re sitting there going come on bit, I’m gonna chomp the shit out of you until Vern sends me a review of the thrilling conclusion to the beloved CRUEL INTENTIONS trilogy.
That’s right boys, CRUEL INTENTIONS 3. May 25th 2004 is the big day. “An Immoral Playground of Seduction and Revenge” it says on the cover, but I don’t think that’s the title. But it would be cool though if it was.
Wait a minute, did that say IMMORTAL playground? No, sorry, it was ‘immoral’. I was gonna say, maybe I need to watch it again because I didn’t pick up on that angle.
Let’s sum up the saga so far:
Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is the wine-sipping, sexually manipulative bitch who bets her prissy stepbrother Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillipe) that he can’t nail the prep school dean’s virginal daughter (Reese Witherspoon). Of course, he gets in there and then discovers that – gasp – he really loves her. Selma Blair is in there also, and Kathryn gives her “kissing lessons” in the park. Then Kathryn snorts coke out of a crucifix and Sebastian gets run over by a car (awesome). There is lots of campy dialogue and sexual innuendo (no nudity if I remember right – definitely no penetration, I’m pretty sure). It sounds like a porno but it’s basically a teen version of Dynasty or Falcon Crest, but based on the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos.
CRUEL INTENTENTIONS 2
The same writer/director returned for the sequel, which has different actors playing Kathryn and Sebastian. [NOTE FROM THE FUTURE #1: I did not have the foresight in 2004 to mention that the “different actor playing Kathryn” was Amy Adams, who has since received six Oscar nominations, dated Superman, etc.] They meet for the first time again and make the same bet again. But it takes place in an alternate dimension or something. This time Sebastian is working class and you’re supposed to like him. Then there are twins naked in a shower. The closest thing to a memorable scene is where Kathryn gives a girl horse riding lessons and gets her to orgasm.
This one was actually a pilot for a Fox TV series, but some executive there was so offended by the horse/orgasm scene that he made them dump the series. And this was before Janet’s titty changed everything.
[NOTE FROM THE FUTURE #2: “some executive” was actually world-infamous shitbag and News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch!]
(By the way that reminds me I got a real good idea for the networks. The politicians have decided that after Janet’s titty, it’s time for America to wash her mouth out with soap, right? And alot of the networks and stations and what not are scrambling to set up new censorship departments. Well you may not know this, they don’t talk about it in the American media much, but we still got a whole camp full of prisoners of war from Afghanistan locked up in cages indefinitely without charges in Guantanamo Bay. Unless EVERYBODY down there is an innocent bystander, there’s GOTTA be some Taliban in there. And believe me, Taliban guys know their shit when it comes to not letting anyone see a woman’s body. These are your guys! They’re made for the job! Just create some kind of work release program and put these guys in Standards and Practices. Or you could send the tapes over there and MAKE them watch them. We’re already violating their human rights anyway, it can’t be THAT much worse to make them watch sitcoms. Well, I guess that’s arguable. But think about it man.)
Anyway, CRUEL INTENTIONS 2 is basically a remix of the TV pilot Manchester Prep, where they added some nudity and swearing. Just like MULLHOLLAND DRIVE, except less good.
(My review here)
Which brings us to PART 3. The thrilling conclusion. Sorry, it’s not in 3-D. But this time it’s the college years and the next generation. I thought maybe they would have yet another pair of actors playing Kathryn and Sebastian, but instead this is the story of Cassidy Merteuil (some chick who looks like Christina Applegate) and some dude (a guy from Dawson Creek).
They tell us that Cassidy is the cousin of Kathryn. She idolizes her cousin and therefore she also goes around making $10,000 bets about who can sleep with who. The dude from Dawson Creek is, like, some guy who knows her, and wants to have sex with her but instead makes bets with her about him having sex with other people (he idolizes Sebastian). They say that the real Sebastian is dead and Kathryn is in a methadone clinic, and it is up to your imagination whether this means the Sebastian and Kathryn from part 1, or the ones from part 2. Or both.
The plot is a little less based on pre-revolution French literature this time, and more on the works of Shannon Tweed. It’s just a series of sex bets. First, the dude bets Cassidy she can’t have sex with his roommate. Then the dude and the roommate have a bet about whether they can have sex with an engaged gal and a gal with a boyfriend. Then they have bets about which one can have sex with Cassidy, but the dude realizes he is – HOLY CRAP WHAT A TREMENDOUS SHOCK – really in love with Cassidy. So sweet. What a hard, hard lesson he has to learn about making bets about having sex with people. I guess that’s why you go to college.
There is a little bit of nudity, so it might do the trick for teenage boys who have a parental lock on their web browsers and no access to a Playboy stash. Otherwise it is even less worth your while than part 2. The sense of humor and camp is completely gone. The anti-heroes are less cartoonish and Falcon Cresty. In fact, it kind of seems like they’re supposed to be cool. Even though there’s a rape scene! If I had kids I wouldn’t let them watch this one. (did you see that, I just totally took a moral stand. That was awesome.) It’s basically a mean-spirited softcore porn. There is no goofy imagination to the titillation like in the first two. It’s written by the guy who wrote CLIFFORD’S REALLY BIG MOVIE.
I’m a nice guy though so I will say that this is not in the lowest tier of unwanted straight to video sequels, it’s more in the lower middle area. At least it’s not in a horror or suspense genre, so they have to come up with more than just a series of death scenes. I made it all the way through in two sittings. It was better than THE SKULLS III. I wonder if I could get that quote on the box.
Anyway that’s it for now boys. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you informed on the straight to video sequel front.
P.S. NOTE FROM THE FUTURE #5:
Director Scott Ziehl later did ROAD HOUSE 2: LAST CALL, which I believe I gave a more positive review to at the time, though it obviously doesn’t compare to the untouchable classic it sequelizes.