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Wild Things: Foursome

Sony Pictures // Unrated // June 1, 2010
List Price: $24.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Thomas Spurlin | posted June 11, 2010 | E-mail the Author
The Film:

"It's fun to watch rich people be naughty!" -- Peter Griffin, "Family Guy"

Granted, Mr. Griffin was watching laundry tumble in a washing machine with beer in-hand while saying that, but he's clearly on to something. Do we, in fact, relish in seeing the silver spoons of society toss caution to the wind and become Brutuses to their Caesars, and does that become the lure in seeing this fourth installment in the Wild Things franchise, the classily-titled Wild Things: Foursome? Oh, hell, who am I kidding, it's all about the mindless, money-driven shenanigans fueling double-crosses and sexual gallivanting with multiple partners, featuring endless attempts at twisting and titillating the audience. Though Foursome flaunts skin and spirals madly, there's no denying that all the vine-like weaving in the plot just goes through the motions set in line by the original, while, at the same time, having about as much intriguing liveliness and sizzle as wet towels on spin cycle.

It's been several years since I've seen John McNaughton's Wild Things, a cult film that pop culture now knows as the "threesome" flick with then it-actors and it-actresses being carnally wicked. The film's actual purpose as a serviceable whodunit gets glossed over because of that fact, yet its cinematic merits are assuredly not the reasons why two sequels (no, really) have hit the DTV market. By now, this "Wild Things" structure has more or less become a genre of its own: chomping-at-the-bits money mongers form around somebody with a lot of dough, often a family member, while scheming ensues, accidents happen, and a whirlwind of murder and sex becomes the pathway to becoming rich. This time, in the Miami / Blue Bay-set Foursome, the key players are Carson Wheetly (Ashley Parker Angel), the obnoxiously bratty son to a wealthy racecar driver, his uppity girlfriend Rachel (Marnette Patterson, Starship Troopers 3: Marauder), and Brandi Cox (Jillian Murray, An American Carol) -- a poor daughter of a fisherman and maid who "grew up" with Rachel.

Speedboat racing for cash, booze-fueled romps, bikini-clad girls everywhere ... sounds like paradise, but trouble starts a'brewing when Carson's father dies in an "accident" (not a speedboat wreck, as stated in the official synopsis) and the context of his will takes a Rain Man-esque turn -- leaving questions about his death in the open and Carson without his father's money to lean on. However, trouble's also brewing within the scripting for Wild Things: Foursome, which works on a level of integrity equal to the softcore "Skin-emax" claptrap that's barely buoyant enough to coast us from body shot to body shot. Early on, Carson and his cronies of both male and female persuasion blurt out some distinctly cringe-worthy lines, one's that aren't nearly as so-bad-it's-good funny as they'd like 'em to be. But, hey, don't listen to me:

"It's gonna be over before the sun hits the first layer of SPF!"

"You know what? Screw you and this ... Jerry Springer reject."

"If fucking up were a desirable skill, you'd be President right now."
"Well, if being an arrogant asshole was equally valued, you'd be my Vice."

"Why don't you let me win something for a change."
"Like what?" "A kissing contest."

Alright, so the dialogue's not so hot. That's fine, as it wasn't exactly pitch-perfect in the original Wild Things, either. However, the acting as a whole doesn't do the nerve-grinding dialogue any favors, aside from up-comer Jillian Murray doing what she can with Brandi. With more charismatic performers, it could've been a fun, sleazy yuck-fest through inane lines and plothole-ridden lunacy; instead, the acting's rickety, cheeky and uninteresting from almost all involved. John Schneider, who'll be most readily recognizable as either Bo from "The Dukes of Hazzard" or as Clark Kent's father from "Smallville", skates by as he grooves with the flashy flavor in his appearance as the homicide detective on Carson's father's case. To say he's a better talent than this is an understatement, though the sauciness he adds certainly brightens the picture up.

Thankfully, a large hunk of the cornball dialogue does subside in Foursome as the film progresses, but it veers out of the way for a tailspin of plot twists that, if you've seen the original, are at least mildly foreseeable. See, that's the problem with stringing a franchise along, whether it be slasher horror flicks or certain screwball comedies -- the audience begins to know what's coming. They're conditioned to expect guns to be drawn, backs to be stabbed, and vast sums of money to be tossed around in more than questionable ways, which makes the already derivative soap-opera hijinks all them more aggravating. It doesn't help that the dialogue still off-and-on infuriates once the meek plot complications begin to twist around one another.

"Baby, you think that meant something to me, one stupid kiss?
Do you believe me, because without your trust, I'm nothing."

"She didn't say, and I didn't care.
You don't say "no" to a hot piece of ass like that."

That ain't the last time you'll hear "hot piece of ass" in this, by the way. Not by a longshot.

As the plot squeaks along through legalese, rape accusations, blackmail, extortion, and all sorts of hair-brained mawkishness that'll sound devastating familiar, none of it feels fresh -- even when there's a glint of creativity behind the numerous connective twists. Supposedly, that's part of the point to Foursome: you see the name, and you essentially expect yet another iteration of that framework. With that entails the same "steamy" sequences, signature excuses to get hot young actors naked together for celebratory wealth-driven romps in the sack (or the shower). And, yes, Foursome lives up to its name, both in a literal and a justice-to-the-franchise fashion, though any sense of eroticism fritters away at the story's limpness. They're neither successfully provocative in that regard, nor very convincing on any situational level.

So ... what's the point? Well, there are a few sexy speedboats and sports cars to gawk at, the Miami setting -- both the maritime environment and the denizens walking within -- can be fleetingly vibrant to the eyes, and the key actors are all attractive people that'll spark us regular folks to renew gym memberships in a snap. You'll find an unremarkable yet lengthy sex scene that earns the film's namesake, a few other giggly teases at steaminess when the script mix-'n-matches the partners, and, well, the smarmy edge from John Schneider and the affable liaison / lackey played by Ethan S. Smith pump a meager amount of integrity into the picture. All that's sprinkled atop a bunch of bolt-headed youths who don't "want to settle" for just a few million dollars here and there, ending in a scheme of massive proportions that proves it's just not worth watching these money-hungry dolts carry out their ploys.

The DVD:

Video and Audio:

Surprisingly, this 1.85:1 anamorphic presentation of Wild Things: Foursome doesn't offer much in the way of eye candy. The image sports a decent level of digital grain, some print damage can be spotted throughout, and most of the sequences lack in depth and dimensionality. Flesh tones are handled well enough, if a bit red in some spots, while contrast flutters to minimal, satisfactory levels. The Florida landscape does offer a few nice splashes of attractiveness as backdrops for the actors, but it's mostly a pretty bland, workable image.

Similar comments can be said about the Dolby Digital 5.1 track, while mostly preserves dialogue and supports the snappy mood music. Bass does trail to the lower quadrants in a few spots during bass-heavy musical cues, while a few sound effects like boats whirring and the like are fine enough. But, overall, the sound's a little hollow and not all that satisfying -- yet it certainly serves the purpose. Unlike the Blu-ray, this DVD arrives with several other language options -- Spanish, Portuguese, and Thai 5.1 tracks.

Special Features:

Like most of the other Wild Things sequels, this disc comes with nothing else other than the feature itself and a cluster of Previews -- though, strangely, they don't include trailers for any of the other Wild Things films.

Final Thoughts:

Not much else to say about Wild Things: Foursome, other than to check out the original and Skip this rehash of all the same stuff. Other than switching out the actors, there's very little reason to have a desire in seeing this, and the fresh faces aren't enough to sell this "new" experience. If the urge just really strikes you to rent this, know that the DVD will satisfy just as much as the Blu-ray.

Thomas Spurlin, Staff Reviewer -- DVDTalk Reviews | Personal Blog/Site
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