The superficial modern sex farce "Whipped" takes place in a world where all women are beautiful, shallow, sex-mad and stupid.
It's a world populated by runway models and girls nicknamed "Heidi the Hoover" who happily go home two at a time with overconfident Melvins in leather pants and pleasure these pigs all night long. Then some of these Barbie dolls subsequently steal guys' TVs while they're in the shower the next morning, proving how untrustworthy chicks are, dude.It's a world where groups of guys gather in chromey corner diners in Manhattan on Sunday mornings to loudly compare detailed notes on the quantity and quality of the babes they bagged on Friday and Saturday nights.
It's a world that could appeal only to folks whose lives revolve around frat parties because in this world everyone -- everyone -- is utterly devoid of any qualities that make people worth knowing. It's "The East Village of the Damned Blackguard Bachelors."
The heroes of this extremely base comedy are three jerks typical of this cinematic plane of existence. One's a Wall Street slick (Brian Van Holt) who fancies himself as a "Tom Cruise in 'Risky Business'" type but is more like a low-rent Chris O'Donnell. One's a weasely writer with a Bono (from U2) complex (Zorie Barber) who picks up chicks in uber-hip coffee bars. The third (Jonathan Abrahams) is a schnook (read: insecure, almost-nice guy) who endures endless ribbing from the other two because he isn't smooth enough to have racked up as many meaningless lays with loose chicks as the other two.
The turnabout-is-fair-play plot revolves around this scammers' triad all falling head-over-heels for the same girl and making fools of themselves competing for her heart while she gladly sleeps with all of them.
The picture's only redeeming factor is that this girl is played by the irresistibly magnetic and sexy-sweet Amanda Peet.
This passably pretty, completely charismatic actress -- who co-starred in "The Whole Nine Yards" as a giddy contract killer-wannabe and stole that movie from Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry -- has 110-percent dream girl credibility even though the script doesn't provide her an ounce of character to build on.
"I've never met anyone like you," all three scammers-turned-suckers fawn to her on separate occasions.
"How's that exactly?" I wanted her to ask. But writer-director Peter M. Cohen clearly hasn't the skills nor the attention span to tackle a question like that. He expects you just to take it as red that she's is so extraordinary that every one of these guys would give up their self-absorbed, misogynistic ways to win her. If Cohen hadn't the dumb luck of landing Peet for the part, this movie would be utterly hopeless.
(This talented, alluring everygal is unquestionably star material. If she starts making better movies -- her only other memorable flick was "One Fine Day" in which she shined as an office tart who draped herself on George Clooney -- she's going to be as unstoppable as Gweneth Paltrow.)
"Whipped" isn't bad because of its subject matter. In fact, it's a piece of cake to extract easy jokes from "men are pigs" material, even when it's as tired as this over-fermented foolishness. But there needs to be something -- anything -- redeemable about the men being ridiculed, and these numskulls are nothing but insufferable.
So is Cohen's sense of humor. Riding the coat tails of "American Pie" in the hopes of cheap, lewd laughs, he builds whole comedy set pieces around anal sex, fishing objects out of unflushed toilets and the idea that any guy who gets married is a chump who inevitably becomes his wife's lap dog.
In a pathetically transparent attempt to show good sportsmanship, Cohen wraps the film with a "surprise" ending in which women are depicted as being as crass as men. Is there truth to this assertion? Perhaps. But he can't even get that right, as it's clearly written from a male fantasy point of view.
Peet comes to the rescue in that scene, too, lending the credibility of her winning performance to material far beneath her.
Run time: 82 mins
In Theaters: Friday 1st September 2000
Box Office USA: $3.8M
Distributed by: Destination Films
Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 59
IMDB: 4.4 / 10
Director: Peter M. Cohen
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