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Reach the Rock Reviews

REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE starring Ferris Bueller: Could there be anything worse? How about REBEL scripted and produced by FERRIS director John Hughes, slowed down to a crawl, riddled with clumsy symbolism and minus Matthew Broderick? On a sweltering summer's night in tiny Shermer, IL (home to THE BREAKFAST CLUB and WEIRD SCIENCE), 21-year-old Robin (Alessandro Nivola), a high-school dropout from the wrong side of the tracks, is taken into police custody for blowing out the plate-glass window of Kendall's hardware store. Sergeant Phil Quinn (William Sadler), who has a few bones to pick with the young rebel, locks him in a cell, but when he's let out to make his one phone call, Robin swipes a spare set of keys, enabling him to sneak in and out of jail and smash a few more storefront windows. What follows is a long night of juvenile hijinks and dreary psychodrama, as Quinn and Robin square off and test each other's wits and the audience's patience. For ineffectual comic relief we're offered Ernie (Bruce Norris), Quinn's horny deputy, and his trashy girlfriend Donna (Karen Sillas). Robin is the kind of hero Hughes can't seem to get enough of: the smart-aleck, essentially antisocial kid with brains and a big mouth who flouts authority and delights in the destruction of other people's property. But only in Hughes's America could Robin pass for a bad boy, and the fact that he's meant to be an adult only makes his puerile antics all the more insufferable, particularly when it's all meant to be a parable about growing up. With a blank expression, contemptuous sniff and too-tight T-shirt, Nivola turns in a colorless performance -- a strong lead might have been the movie's saving grace -- and John McEntire's plonking post-rock score is a further drain on an already enervated and irritating film.