Splendor

With his dreadful "Teen Apocalypse Trilogy" (TOTALLY F***ED UP, DOOM GENERATION and NOWHERE) little more than a bad memory, writer-director-editor Gregg Araki tries his hand at reworking something a bit more restrained: nutty romantic comedy, namely Ernst Lubitsch's own retooling of Noel Coward's Design for Living. The result is characteristically stylish...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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With his dreadful "Teen Apocalypse Trilogy" (TOTALLY F***ED UP, DOOM GENERATION and NOWHERE) little more than a bad memory, writer-director-editor Gregg Araki tries his hand at reworking something a bit more restrained: nutty romantic comedy, namely Ernst

Lubitsch's own retooling of Noel Coward's Design for Living. The result is characteristically stylish and willfully outre, and uncharacteristically watchable. After a whole year without so much as a date, 22-year-old Veronica (90210's Kathleen Robertson) suddenly finds herself with

two handsome men on her hands: Abel (Johnathon Schaech), a sensitive aspiring novelist who writes music reviews for quick cash; and Zed (Matt Keeslar), a none-too-bright drummer with, Veronica marvels, the "face of an angel and the abs of an underwear model." As their names suggest, Abel and Zed

are polar opposites who fill different needs in Veronica's life. Rather than choose between them, Veronica listens to the advice of her smart-mouthed best friend Mike (TRAINSPOTTING's Kelly Macdonald) and opts for both, and soon the trio are blissfully sharing more than just Veronica's free time.

There's trouble in paradise, however, when Veronica discovers that she's pregnant. With its messy romantic entanglements, an independent and sexually emancipated heroine, wisecracking best friend and some frenetic racing about that doesn't entirely work, Araki apes the screwball genre without

providing much in the way of comedy. (He's good with throwaway one-liners, but writing isn't generally Araki's strong suit). The film is nothing if not stylish — no fade-to-black for Araki; he prefers a vibrant shade of lime green — and where the performances in his earlier films tended

to grate, he's got a good (and good-looking) cast on hand here. Robertson is particularly charming: as a talking-head, direct-address-to-the-camera commentator on her own life, she truly sparkles in close-up, and it's not just the disco body glitter.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: R
  • Review: With his dreadful "Teen Apocalypse Trilogy" (TOTALLY F***ED UP, DOOM GENERATION and NOWHERE) little more than a bad memory, writer-director-editor Gregg Araki tries his hand at reworking something a bit more restrained: nutty romantic comedy, namely Ernst… (more)

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