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"Stateside" Movie Review

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Rachael Leigh Cook Jonathan Tucker

Jonathan Tucker and Rachael Leigh Cook in "Stateside"

Photo © Samuel Goldwyn Films
“Stateside” is supposedly based on a true story. Because of that, we’re supposed to care what happens to the messed up people who populate this movie. At least I’m assuming that’s the point of the film. I’d really hate to believe it’s an hour and a half or so of mind-numbing storytelling without any purpose.

So this spoiled rich kid (hereafter referred to as SRK) is a troublemaker at school. He and his cohorts do what they please, eventually winding up with them slamming their car into the school’s head priest, Father Concoff (Ed Begley Jr. doing an annoying accent – but that doesn’t mean he should be mowed down). During the crash this girl they kidnapped also gets injured. Of course, the two rich spoiled boys walk away without a scratch. Why did they kidnap her? Because she acts all prissy but is actually promiscuous. That seems like a logical reason to kidnap someone, doesn’t it? No, it doesn’t. But seeking logical answers to this movie’s plot results in a bigger headache than the film’s ultimately worth. Instead of serving time in prison like he deserves, the SRK gets off by having his father pull some strings. SRK then goes off to the Marines – that’s his punishment. There, the generic Drill Sergeant shouts orders at him (we’ve seen this stereotypical role so many times, it is possible to yell out the lines right along with poor Val Kilmer) and teaches him how to be a man. I kid you not. That’s the plot.

Wait, I forgot the love story. Because he’s now a SRK with a heart, he goes to visit the girl he kidnapped and injured. She’s mad at him. Duh. But she has a roommate in this mental institute/halfway house she’s now locked up in that kind of finds him attractive. Hold the phone. Why is she locked up? Seems mommy dearest doesn’t like her little girl having sex and has committed her to a mental institute. What the heck? Oh yeah, that happens all the time. Haven’t you visited a mental institution recently and seen all the teenage girls who’ve had sex locked up behind bars until they come to their senses? That plot line actually made my brain physically ache. Anyway, the roommate is some famous pop singer/actress/weirdo with schizophrenia. He finds her quirkiness endearing. Dude, she’s sick. She has a real illness and you find her quirky and think you can cure her by being quirky right along with her? What am I missing?

Jonathan Tucker and Rachael Leigh Cook play the leads in this unfortunate mess. Tucker’s not leading man material at this point in his career, and Cook alternated between annoying me and giving me a good chuckle at her over-acting. Val Kilmer… The nicest thing to say about Kilmer is that he’s the best thing in this movie. A special plea to Kilmer – fire your agent or whoever is helping you choose your roles. You’re so much better than this. Agnes Bruckner, so good in “Blue Car,” is also totally wasted as the sexually active teen with a mean mom.

This is based on a true story. Repeat that phrase a few hundred times while you’re trying to fight your way out of the theater, kicking yourself for purchasing a ticket. You’ve been warned. This one isn’t even worth watching on cable TV, unless you’re ready to be fitted for a straight jacket.

GRADE: D-

"Stateside" was directed by Reverge Anselmo and is rated R for sexuality, language, drinking and drug content involving teens.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
"Stateside" Photo Gallery
"Stateside" Credits and Trailer

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