Friday, January 12, 2007

Movie Review: Gossip 2 ½ Stars

Wanna know a secret? Gossip isn’t as bad as you’d think. But it isn’t good, either. In fact, it’s only good enough to make you wish that it was better.

With a cast of attractive television stars making the transition to the big screen, attractive TV director Davis Guggenheim makes his feature film debut. With Gossip, he attempts to show what dangerous webs we weave when we plot to deceive, hanging said deception web on date rape, the movie conceit du jour. While the characters are cardboard cutouts of arrogant East Coast college students, goody-two-shoes’ and steakheads, there are enough unexpected plot twists to keep the film interesting, and the stars are very pretty.

In Professor Goodwin’s (Eric Bogosian) journalism class, students Derek (James Marsden), Travis (Norman Reedus), and Jones (Lena Headey) are assigned a project on journalistic ethics, the truth and other lofty ideas. They decide for the assignment to start a rumor and then track the path of the rumor. The subject of their gossip mongering is Naomi (Kate Hudson), a young girl who wears her virginity on her sleeve. When they see an obviously smashed Naomi swapping spit with Bo (Josh Jackson), they decide to circulate the rumor that Naomi was date raped that night.

Nice people, huh?

As it turns out, Naomi blacked out on the night in question. When the rumor comes knocking on her door, she presses charges against Bo. An investigation is launched and the question, not only for Detectives Kelly and Curtis (Sharon Lawrence and Edward James Olmos), but for the audience as well, becomes did Bo or didn't Bo?

Guggenheim and cast handle the material with much more delicacy than did last season’s date rape pic Body Shots, but date rape is still a contrivance rather than the meat of the film itself. I suppose that’s why it’s called Gossip, but just like in real life, gossip just doesn’t interest me.

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