The Rules of Attraction

Run Time: 110 minutes
Director: Roger Avary
Starring: James Van Der Beek
DVD Release: September 16, 2003
Rating: R
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Based on one of my favorite novels, The Rules of Attraction stays reasonably close to the storyline from the book by Brett Easton Ellis, venturing away only when necessary to modernize the story for a target audience much younger than the 1980’s setting of the book. Some liberties were taken with the soundtrack, leaving some sections of the movie in a sonic time warp. In fact, the soundtrack, combined with some clever cinematic effects, helps the movie along through a storyline that is otherwise fairly depressing and hopeless.
Throughout the film, the story exposes the hollow emptiness of a group of affluent college students, all lacking in direction and desperate for meaningful interpersonal relationships. As they flounder through disengaged attempts to connect on a superficial level, we come to discover how confused the kids really are. While many of the pop-culture references specific to the eighties that made the book so engaging are missing, I found myself entertained throughout the movie in spite of myself. The movie is definitely aimed at teens, with a cast of teen-idol regulars, although I’m not sure I’d recommend The Rules of Attraction to anyone still living under their parent’s roof. The book demonstrates the brilliant prose Ellis expanded on through several more novels, culminating in American Psycho, before taking a bizarre detour with The Informers. Special features are lacking from the DVD – this movie is probably a renter, unless you are a Brett Easton Ellis fan.