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Movie Review

Perverse, obscene and deeply offensive. That's no overstatement when describing Cruel Intentions, the fourth screen adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Pierre Laclos' novel of sexual skulduggery. But this version is especially irresponsible. By casting young stars from TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson's Creek, this sleazy remake is clearly targeted at teens.

Young viewers are introduced to Sebastian and his stepsister Kathryn, soulless, spoiled rich kids with an insatiable appetite for sex and ruining people's lives. She wagers that Sebastian can't bed the virginal Annette, a Christian girl vocal in her support of abstinence (sadly, he wins the bet).

Meanwhile, Kathryn introduces innocent Cecile to erotic encounters, starting with a lesbian kiss and ending with an impassive Sebastian tutoring Cecile on oral sex and intercourse. There's also a thread of deceit spun by a gay teen who speaks frankly about his sexual past and is shown in bed with another man.

Obscenities are harsh and frequent—particularly the f-word and abuses of Jesus' name. Disrespect for Christianity also extends to Annette's faith being mocked and Kathryn snorting coke from a cross she wears.

A few principled notes (Sebastian literally laying down his life for Annette, or Kathryn's guile being exposed and reviled) are all but drowned out by the rest of this lurid symphony. Cruel counsel such as "Practice makes perfect. My advice would be to sleep with as many people as possible" is unhealthy and immoral. Don't let these young schemers seduce teens.

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Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair, Joshua Jackson


Roger Kumble ( )


Columbia TriStar



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Bob Smithouser

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