In an adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos' novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian Valmont (Ryan Phillippe) are step-brother and step-sister living in Manhattan. With their absent parents travelling in Europe, the wealthy pair have the family penthouse to themselves as they while away their summer break before beginning senior year at a private high school. Sebastian, bad-boy lothario, has apparently slept with all the girls in town and appears numb to it all. Kathryn, who appears to be the good girl class president, is actually far more amoral and malicious than Sebastian, but maintains appearances to the contrary. When she is dumped by her boyfriend, Court Reynolds (Charlie O'Connell), for the innocent Cecile Caldwell (Selma Blair), she schemes revenge by destroying Cecile's reputation. She challenges Sebastian to deflower Cecile and transform her into a tramp to humiliate Court. Sebastian isn't as interested as Cecile -- she's spent her whole life in a Catholic girl's school and presents no challenge. The girl who has caught his attention is Annette Hargrove (Reese Witherspoon), the new headmaster's daughter. Annette had written an article for Seventeen Magazine on her plans to stay a virgin until she finds her one true love. Kathryn makes a wager. If Sebastian fails to lure Annette into bed before the summer is over, Kathryn gets his car. If he succeeds, Sebastian gets Kathryn, whom he wants anyway. Sebastian accepts the bet, but Annette turns out to be more than either of them bargained for. ~ Ron Wells, Rovi
Movie Level Themes
Sexual Awakening, Mind Games, Social Climbing
Movie Level Tones
Biting, Irreverent, Witty, Sexual, Cynical
Filmmaker's audio commentary
Making of featurette
Creative intentions: finding a visual style
Music video "Comin' Up From Behind" by Marcy Playground
Music video "Every You Every Me" by Placebo
A profane, wicked, barely believable but also oddly enjoyable teen variation on Dangerous Liaisons, Cruel Intentions is a truly guilty pleasure until it begins to take itself far too seriously. Writer/director Roger Kumble's take on this tale of decadence is light on subtlety, but takes the proceedings to a giddy limit, and adapts the story with more panache than it probably deserves in a setting so inherently shallow. The young cast is well-appointed, especially Sarah Michelle Gellar, who relishes the opportunity to play a bitch-goddess manipulator, though the drippy romantic angle of the story is far too melodramatic for a movie that delights in being so biting. The movie doesn't score many points for originality, but at least offers a bit more than the standard teenage picture, especially in its flagrant vulgarity, some of which is quite funny. A mid-size hit in theaters, the film has the dubious distinction of spawning a television series that never aired, the doomed-from-the-start Manchester Prep. ~ Jason Clark, Rovi
Blu-Ray Drive or Blu-Ray Player
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