Movie Review By Monica Sullivan
You are Luke McNamara, a poor orphaned 21-year-old SWM, madly in love with Chloe a rich blonde SWF, who seems to be about five years older, but who's usually cast as teenagers in high school. Your best friend is Will Beckford, a black investigative reporter for the college newspaper. Since the beginning of college-styled time, Will, Chloe and you have made fun of "The Skulls," a super secret campus fraternity that's supposedly spawned three American presidents. Unimpressed by this "fact," you resist the entire notion of "The Skulls" until you're just about to have dinner with Chloe and Will. THEN you receive a telephone call from an unidentified source asking you to be somewhere in 40 seconds and you're GONE for the rest of the night. The next day, Wi1l asks you point blank if you were with "The Skulls" and voila! He's your new ex-best friend.
This is the premise of the "The Skulls" the hot new teen flick opening this week. It's hot because it stars the admittedly sizzling Joshua ("Dawson's Creek"'s Pacey Witter) Jackson and Leslie ("Popular"'s Brook McQueen) Bibb, whose WB shows have been in reruns for weeks. Even the Pacey & Brook fans who surrounded me mumbled buzz words like "far-fetched" or "come ON" or "are you KIDDING?" when they managed to stop giggling at Rob ("Miami Vice") Cohen's direction or John ("U.S. Marshals") Pogue's screenplay. "The Sku1ls" is also populated by Paul Walker, whom I've seen in five recent films & can't recall in any of them. Walker has the sort of generic looks & talent shared by the older Kevin Costner, but at least his last name is memorable: Caleb Mandrake. Do we expect anyone with a handle like that to be up to anything but evil? His Father, Litten Mandrake, is played by Craig T. ("Poltergeist I & II") Nelson. Over the years, Nelson's profile has evolved into something of a brontosaurus wannabee, &, as the aforementioned direction & screenplay make lavishly clear, Old & Young Mandrake deserve each other.
William ("Manhunter") Petersen is Senator Ames Levritt, looking like a Kennedy, but acting like some scurvy scalawag out of an Alan Drury novel. Christopher McDonald as Provost Lombard slides in and of roles as varied as low-down dirty skunks & Wally & Beaver Cleaver's father. He wears a suit here, so guess what he's playing this time. And then there Steve ("The Practice's" Eugene Young Harris as mysterious Detective Sparrow. Of all the illustrious cast Jackson, Bibb & Hill Harper as Will come off best, playing their roles so earnestly, you'd swear they actually gave a damn about whether "The Skulls" were out to rule the universe as we know it.
© 2000 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 3/29/00
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