Body Shots

Directed by Michael Cristofer
Starring: Sean Patrick Flanery, Jerry O'Connell, Amanda Peet, Tara Reid, Ron Livingston, Emily Procter, Brad Rowe, Sybil Temchen.
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content including graphic sex-related dialogue, language, violence and scenes of alcohol abuse.

Review by Matt Heffernan
October 24, 1999

Is it possible to make a film that consists entirely of getting drunk and having sex? Body Shots proves that it is possible, but falls short of proving that such a movie can be good.

The film opens with Rick (Sean Patrick Flanery) and Jane (Amanda Peet) in bed together, still fully clothed and quite drunk. Before they have a chance to wake up and get down to business, Sara (Tara Reid) enters the apartment, drunk and injured, after nearly getting in a car crash. She says that Michael (Jerry O'Connell, whom we have yet to see) raped her.

Flashback to the day before. Rick and Jane have been going out for a while, and they decide to get a bunch of friends together for a night of clubbing. Rick brings along co-workers Shawn (Brad Rowe) and Trent (Ron Livingston), and his childhood friend, and Oakland Raider, Michael. Jane brings along Sara (who is dating Shawn), Emma (Sybil Temchen), and Whitney (Emily Procter), who works at the club and can get them in. The next morning, we hear the stories of what happened after they left the club. The major one, of course, was between Sara and Michael, who disagree as to whether the sex was consensual or not.

What we basically have here is another version of Rashomon, with some of the themes from Romance mixed in. Only this film lacks the genius of the former, and the pretension of the latter. So, it fits somewhere between, but is not satisfying overall. Thankfully, the sex scenes weren't as graphic as Romance, but they took up just as much time. Also carried over is a running commentary, addressed to the camera by each of the eight characters. As a result, we see very little interaction between the characters on an intellectual level.

The flashbacks/love scenes between the ancillary characters just distract from the central rape story. They are essentially filler, because they didn't have more perspectives on the rape scene, as in Rashomon. This is yet another example of a film that didn't need to be feature-length, but they were too afraid of losing money on a short. Michael Cristofer only directed the TV movie Gia before Body Shots, so I can't really blame him for choosing the wrong material.

Of course, he's been the supplier of bad material before, such as the screenplay for Bonfire of the Vanities. At this stage in his career, however, it's too late for making such mistakes.

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Body Shots (1999)

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Review © 1999 Matt Heffernan