tek's rating: ½

Wild Things (R)
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This came out in 1998. I'm not sure whether or not I ever saw it before I watched it in 2023. (I probably had seen it, but I didn't remember any details of the plot.)

Okay, so there's this high school guidance counselor named Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon), and there's a wealthy student named Kelly Van Ryan (Denise Richards), who obviously has a crush on him. One day she and a friend wash his car for charity, and afterwards Kelly sends her friend away and goes into Sam's house. We then see her leave his house, and subsequently she tells her mother, Sandra, who had at some point had a relationship with Sam, that Sam raped her. Sam loses his job, and hires an attorney named Kenneth Bowden to defend him in court. Another student (one from a far less affluent family) named Suzie Toller (Neve Campbell) also accuses Sam of having raped her. Meanwhile, there are a couple of police detectives named Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon) and Gloria Perez, who investigate the alleged crime.

For the first half of the movie, I figured we were meant to assume Sam was innocent, but I didn't assume anything. I thought maybe he'd turn out to be guilty, and that would be like a plot twist, but I was content to wait to find out the truth, one way or the other. Then Sam's trial ends halfway through the movie, with a plot twist that I don't want to spoil. And the second half of the movie has several more plot twists, which I also don't want to spoil. So the truth is pretty complicated. There are even some scenes with still more revelations that take place during the end credits. Anyway, it's not a bad story, I guess, but I also don't think the movie is nearly as clever as it seems to think it is. Then again, maybe it's not even trying to be clever or surprising, so much as funny, like a parody of a noir movie. I'm not sure, because I mostly felt like the movie took itself seriously, but there were definitely some funny bits, whether intentional or not. (There are also too many shots clearly meant for the male gaze.) But whatever, I'm glad to have seen the movie, whether this was the first or second time I've seen it.

There are a few direct-to-DVD "sequels", in which I have no interest.

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