Pitch-black and bound to offend anyone who's not on its wavelength, Nick Guthe's entertainingly slick debut is a mordantly funny slice of lust, crime and sleaze set in the world of L.A.'s industry elite: Call it 9021-noir. Mini (Nikki Reed) is the preternaturally mature teenage daughter of Diane (Carrie-Anne Moss), a hateful failed Hollywood actress who only refrained from aborting Mini because she figured there was more money in child-support payments than in an abortion. Unfortunately, Mini's biological father died not long after she was born, leaving an angry Diane to raise Mini alone before marrying her current husband, successful L.A. businessman Martin (Alec Baldwin). Now a thrill-seeking high-school senior with a solid C average, Mini is convinced that life should be filled with as many new experiences — "firsts," she calls them — as possible, morality or legality be damned. This credo leads Mini to join a Hollywood escort agency, and when the address of her second client turns out to be Martin's secret love nest, Mini gets the opportunity to experience another, wholly unexpected first. Thrilled by the opportunity to betray her mother in the worst way imaginable, Mini insists Martin turn down the lights before she makes her entrance, then tricks her unsuspecting stepfather into paying her for sex. Martin is later horrified to learn the true identity of his escort, but this horror doesn't stop him from embarking on a torrid affair with Mini right under Diane's coke-filled nose. Convinced he's experiencing something close to true love, Martin idly fantasizes about a life without Diane, while Mini formulates a plan of action: They'll drive Diane into the madhouse by spiking her morning margaritas with bizarre-behavior-inducing Ritalin and boosting her paranoia with scary cell-phone calls. But just when it looks as though Mini and Martin are about to get away with it, their carefully laid plans are upset by the persistent reappearances of a Detective Garson (Luke Wilson) and by Martin's suspicions that those I-know-what-you-did styled messages he's been receiving are coming from TV producer Mike Rudell (Jeff Goldblum), one of Diane's many former lovers. Anyone who's read James M. Cain or is at all familiar with film-noir conventions will know exactly where things are going, but Guthe and his cast play the game with enough perverse aplomb to make for a wickedly fun time. Reed is frighteningly good as an underaged femme fatale with no boundaries whatsoever, but the real standout is Moss: She's perfect as a Hollywood never-was who talks endlessly about nearly getting that speaking part on Bikini Cove as she tosses back yet another drink.
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- Released: 2006
- Rating: R
- Review: Pitch-black and bound to offend anyone who's not on its wavelength, Nick Guthe's entertainingly slick debut is a mordantly funny slice of lust, crime and sleaze set in the world of L.A.'s industry elite: Call it 9021-noir. Mini (Nikki Reed) is the preterna… (more)