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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Smokers
Smokers
MGM // R // February 5, 2002
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jason Bovberg | posted March 17, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?

The Smokers is a groaningly terrible no-budget flick that aims to shock and titillate but ends up merely boring its audience. It wants its three bad-grrrrrl characters to exist out on the edge of nihilism and cynicism, but they'll only leave you scratching your head, wondering about their motives for being such all-out bitches.

The Smokers follows the rambling, mean-spirited adventures of a trio of boarding-school brats—Jefferson (Dominique Swain), Karen (Busy Philipps), and Lisa (Keri Lynn Pratt)—who are known as the smokers. I guess they smoke a lot. From the meandering plot and the wince-worthy, obvious writing, I gathered that these girls feel oppressed by boys. At one point, they find themselves in a bar, and Karen flirts shamelessly with a rich stranger. He has his way with her in his limousine and drops her off in front of her place. She feels used when he doesn't want to give her his phone number. I guess I missed the subtlety of her victimhood. Anyway, after a couple of misread experiences like this, the girls decide to start raping men at gunpoint. It's a girl-power kind of thing.

At this point, The Smokers could have become an interesting sociological statement, but no, the filmmakers decide to change gears and follow Jefferson as she romances a childhood friend. The movie becomes sappy and meaningless, and the acting will often force you to avert your eyes. You might not make it as far as the ending, when a happy voice-over talks about how all the characters lived happily ever after. But if you do, you'll want to snap this disc in half.

Thora Birch (American Beauty, Ghost World) has a tiny, almost unrecognizable role.

HOW'S IT LOOK?

On side A of The Smokers, MGM presents the film in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Side B offers a full-frame presentation, in case you don't care about the director's original framing. The transfer is pretty lousy, suffering from hideous edge enhancement, poor detail, and smeared colors.

HOW'S IT SOUND?

The Dolby 2.0 track is muddy and sometimes incomprehensible. This is a poor mix.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE?

Nothing.

WHAT'S LEFT TO SAY?

The young cast makes this DVD look like a promising rental, but don't be deceived. Even Swain turns in a performance that she'll look back on with regret. The Smokers is a lost film in search of a point.

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