The Rules of Attraction

This may be the most despairing college sex comedy ever, which is apt since director Roger Avary is adapting the 1987 novel by Bret Easton Ellis, who is (thankfully) not an American Pie kind of guy. James Van Der Beek kills off wimpy Dawson as Sean Bateman (brother of Ellis' American Psycho), a dealer looking for any orifice where "I can stick my half-aroused animal member." Ian Somerhalder is Paul Denton, gay and looking to do Sean. Shannyn Sossamon is Lauren, a virgin who gets gangbanged. And Kip Pardue is Victor, who narrates a fast-cut sequence about his European vacation that had me on the floor. Rules needs that dose of hilarity. Ellis' satire, filtered through Avary's harsh lens, is hard to stomach, harder to ignore.

From The Archives Issue 908: October 31, 2002