Desperate But Not Serious
½*/**** Image B- Sound A-
starring Christine Taylor, Paget Brewster, Claudia Schiffer, John Corbett
screenplay by Nicole Coady, Halle Eaton & Abbe Wool
directed by Bill Fishman
by Walter Chaw The indie version of The Sweetest Thing, Bill Fishman's second strike after his interesting debut Tapeheads is the horrendous Reckless + Wild (originally titled Desperate But Not Serious), and while it wins some indulgence for Joey Lawrence's small role as himself (failed teen idol, narcissist, and nitwit), that indulgence is promptly squandered by a performance from supermodel Claudia Schiffer (as a magnificently untalented punk rocker) that suggests Christopher Lambert in leather and falsetto.
Following Lily (Christine Taylor) and her best friend, party-girl Francis (Paget Brewster), as they traipse all over nighttime L.A. trying to find Lily's dreamy lost love Jonathan (John Corbett), Reckless + Wild banks on insipid musical cues, '80s fave Wendie Jo Sperber as some kind of ethnic pastiche, and a brand of exhausting narrative nothingness that has seldom worked since Martin Scorsese's After Hours.
Insufferably twee and unhealthily fascinated with women adjusting themselves in slinky designer dresses, Reckless + Wild can best be described as a series of sketches that don't work. The actresses are game but over-matched, with Brewster's boozy floozy coming off the worst as routine after routine falls lifeless. Indicative of the failure of the entire exercise is a scene in which Taylor's role as Marcia Brady in the Brady Bunch films is mocked: What you have is a movie making fun of a movie that was making fun of a camp television show. What I'm saying is that there are precious few nuggets left in that mine, though on the bright side, Henry Rollins has a cameo as a psychotic bartender.
Presented by Fox in a cropped 1.33:1 transfer, the video on Reckless + Wild is spotty at best. Little effort seems to have been taken in bringing this shelved gem to the Blockbuster clearance racks and the amount of grain and dull sharpness support that supposition. The speakers get a nice workout from the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix during the film's interminable club scenes, with the sub-woofer throbbing pleasantly like the mid-hemisphere headache that develops concurrent to enduring the picture. Special features include cast & crew filmographies that are even sparser than usual (no biographies), and a trailer that should serve as fair warning to most sentient lifeforms. Originally published: May 20, 2002.
87 minutes; R; 1.33:1; English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0 (Stereo); CC; English subtitles; DVD-9; Region One; Fox