Like an episode of MTV's barely-legal late-night dorm life soap "Undressed," with 20 times the creativity but without any more substance, "The Rules of Attraction" is a stylish, glib, endemically energetic diversion that's indulgently entertaining but could have and should have been deeper.
Enthusiastically adapted by Roger Avery (co-writer of "Pulp Fiction" and writer-director of "Killing Zoe") from the whimsically subversive novel by Bret Easton Ellis, it's a black comedy about the feral underbelly of modern campus life, full of cinematic invention but narrative superficiality.
Populated by teen-TV lightweight types trying to gain edgy credibility, "Rules" stars James Van Der Beek ("Dawson's Creek") in the movie's most resonant performance as antihero Sean Bateman, a deviant college cool-jerk -- who, for the trivia-minded, is the younger brother of the title character in Ellis's "American Psycho."
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The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.