Gossip (2000) from Johnny Web

Another one aimed at the school age market, again featuring Joshua Jackson.

Three college roommates decide to test the nature of gossip as their term paper in some university class (semiotics? communications arts? archery?). They start a rumor about a rich-bitch virginal girl who passed out drunk one night in the arms of the campus lothario. He didn't do anything, but one of the term paper writers saw the incident and decides it will make a great rumor.

The whole thing escalates, and the stud-boy is disgraced to the point where he is actually arrested for rape. (The girl was passed out, and believes she may have been raped!)

It sounds lame so far, doesn't it? During the first half I thought I was watching one of those ABC afterschool specials about how "lying is bad and rape is worse", but it improved, as some mysterious twists added to the broth. The alleged rapee has a connection with one of the rumor starters, and then she's dead all of a sudden, and .......

... some other stuff.

The second half at least has some plot, however improbable, but it's really impossible to get involved because nobody in the movie is even the slightest bit likeable. The three protagonists started all the destruction knowing the hurt it would cause, if not the magnitude of it. The damaged lothario and rich-bitch - we're supposed to like them?

It's bad, but it does have a refreshingly subversive attitude, which I enjoyed. It takes the approach that the truth is ineffectual to unspin the web of deceit. After a while, everybody thinks that the people who are telling the truth are deliberately lying, because the "real" truth is known. One girl even gets threatened with an obstruction of justice charge if she continues telling the truth!

It would be much more entertaining with some nudity from Kate Hudson or Lena Headey but, alas, twas ne'er to be. Hudson appeared braless with nature's thermometers registering cold.

Box Office: A minor bomb. $5 million domestic on a $14 million budget.

General consensus: dismal. Less than two stars. Ebert 2. Berardinelli 1.5. Apollo scored it 41/100.

IMDB summary: 5.7 out of 10. (Apollo users 77!)

Rotten Tomatoes summary. 26% positive reviews from all critics, 11% fom the elite.

DVD info from Amazon. There is one available but I have not reviewed it. I watched a video tape. Chances are the DVD is not worth it unless the extra features include a complimentary three-way with Kate and Goldie.

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