"Well-intentioned" appears to be the adjective for THE LIARS' CLUB, though the exact intentions of this cautionary teen melodrama remain elusive.
Seven working-class high school seniors vow post-graduate loyalty to each other. In addition, football star Pat (Brian Krause), bound for Notre Dame on an athletic scholarship, swears fidelity to girlfriend Kim (Jennifer Burns). But when the pals get drunk at a subsequent party, Pat sexually
assaults Marla (Shevonne Durkin), who wants to press charges. That would endanger Pat's scholarship, so teammate Jimbo (Michael Cudlitz) chases her; in one of those only-in-Hollywood struggles, she's fatally impaled on his small pocketknife. The remaining six friends hide the body and cover for
both Pat and Jimbo. "I don't feel right about this," inevitably says token nice guy David (Wil Wheaton). He phones an anonymous tip to police, who have little trouble cracking the case as the clique crumbles in mutual suspicion and distrust. In the last scene, an unrepentant Pat is en route to
college after all, ready to outwit highway cops with his radar detector. Hey, didn't complicity in rape and manslaughter mar his scholarship chances? Maybe Notre Dame was really hurting that season.
Look for ironies at your own risk in the vague and heavy-handed THE LIARS' CLUB. The nasty jocks are shown with that hokey horror-movie lighting on their faces, and the only character to get the full troubled-youth treatment (estranged bickering parents, menial job, etc.) is the relatively
guileless David. The overall tone is reminiscent of an "After School Special" with sex, violence, and swearing; yet, while unfurling a laundry-list of youthful indiscretions--from speeding to alcohol, rape, homicide, perjury, and cheating on exams (the latter depicted during the opening credit
sequence)--the film is unable to articulate its point. Is it a morality play for wayward teens? An ostensible warning to adults about youth at risk, a la those 1950s juvenile delinquent pictures? An ironized social document, like its infinitely superior model, RIVER'S EDGE (1987)? At least the
often raw subject matter never quite tips over into exploitation, despite participation of habitually dodgy B-movie czar Roger Corman as executive producer. (Violence, profanity, adult situations, nudity, sex, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: R
- Review: "Well-intentioned" appears to be the adjective for THE LIARS' CLUB, though the exact intentions of this cautionary teen melodrama remain elusive. Seven working-class high school seniors vow post-graduate loyalty to each other. In addition, football star… (more)