THE BOYS CLUB is an unpolished dissertation on the corruption of innocence. Mired in artificial suspense, flat dialogue, and simplistic adolescent psychology, the film microscopically studies the seductive power of evil through an opaque lens.
Rebellious 14-year-olds Kyle (Dominic Zaprogna), Brad (Stuart Stone), and Eric (Devon Sawa) retreat to their clubhouse to put down authority figures, particularly Kyle's alcoholic dad (Nicholas Campbell), who disparages his son's dream of attending a summer aeronautics program. One day, the teens
discover a fugitive, Luke (Chris Penn), hiding in their private domain. Eager to believe the wounded man's antisocial hogwash about life on the run, Kyle, Brad, and Eric vow to keep Luke's presence a secret.
Blinded to Luke's self-serving motives, the buddies ditch Luke's wrecked car, shoplift at a liquor store, and even steal a cellular phone and gun for Luke from their parents. Although he continues to flatter their egos, Luke shows his true colors by sexually taunting Kyle's friend, Megan (Amy
Stewart), when she drops by the shack unannounced. Then, Luke holds Eric captive while ordering a disillusioned Kyle and Brad to appropriate a getaway vehicle. Kyle attempts to steal a car owned by his drug-addicted brother, Jake (Jarred Blancard), but wrecks it instead. When Jake prepares to burn
down the clubhouse the next day, Luke shoots him. Aware that Jake will die without medical attention, the boys are forced to go on the defensive against Luke who, they discover in a newspaper article, is actually a cop killer. Although Luke frees Eric so he can help locate another car, Eric
chickens out in the ensuing crisis. As Luke forces Kyle to climb to the clubhouse's second-floor loft, Brad attacks Luke with a crowbar; Kyle pitches in and viciously beats Luke. Alerted by a panicked Eric, the police arrest Luke, the teens' one-time hero.
If viewers are intrigued by the concept of a street-smart felon manipulating gullible boys, they should skip this jumbled psychological thriller and instead rent the superior FALL TIME (1995). Whereas that nightmarish movie weaves a web of sexual insinuations and mixed signals, THE BOYS CLUB
hammers home its intent like a public-service announcement about teen crime. What's most irksome about this screenplay is its insistence that adults are so clueless that adolescents could only turn to them for reassurance and advice when all else fails.
The film's script keeps presenting thrill after thrill without caring whether the characters' actions have any inherent logic. Choked with happenstance, this flick ultimately proves less chilling than grating; the teens literally need a corpse to fall on their heads before they wise up to Luke's
machinations. Nor is the film's psychological resonance much bolstered by Penn's standardized bully act. Like the film itself, Penn predictably overplays his hand. (Graphic violence, substance abuse, adult situations, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: THE BOYS CLUB is an unpolished dissertation on the corruption of innocence. Mired in artificial suspense, flat dialogue, and simplistic adolescent psychology, the film microscopically studies the seductive power of evil through an opaque lens. Rebellious… (more)