Body Shots Michael Cristofer
Published Feb 01, 2000Director Michael Cristofer's last film was Gia, in which he collaborated with novelist Jay McInerney, and that's an instructive connection because Body Shots takes a lot of cues from movies like Bright Lights Big City or the Bret Easton Ellis adaptation, Less Than Zero. These are the kind of movies that allow audiences to vicariously indulge in watching the excesses of beautiful, rich, amoral 20-somethings, but it still leaves them feeling ennobled because in the last act there's always some moralising judgement of the excessive behaviour. Body Shots fits into that mould perfectly, only the moralising is even more heavy-handed. The subject matter of the movie is sex in the '90s and it uses the pairing-off of four couples to illustrate a spectrum of edgy sexual relationships, from consensual bondage to date rape. The actors all address the camera from time to time to spout off their dunderheaded theories about sexual conquest (in between the frenetic scenes of club hopping and brawls in the alley), but their comments aren't clever or incisive enough to qualify as black humour.
The screenplay for Body Shots was written by David McKenna (American History X) and it's surprising that his characters all seem to pulled from an episode of 90210. Oddly enough, the actor who acquits himself best is the grinning, apple-cheeked Jerry O'Connell, who has the kind of rambunctious physical presence that makes you want to clear away any breakable objects from his path. He becomes the focal point of the last act of the movie, and when things get serious, he seems to be the only member of the cast who rises above the sombre tone to add some dramatic urgency to the proceedings.