The Rachel Papers

Martin Amis's brilliantly acerbic first novel is unpersuasively filmed as a trendy teen comedy, with its self-loathing intellectual hero transformed into a nerdy-but-lovable computer geek. Charles Highway (Dexter Fletcher) has turned Swinging London into a science. He's created a home-computer program into which he has poured the accumulated data of his...read more

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Martin Amis's brilliantly acerbic first novel is unpersuasively filmed as a trendy teen comedy, with its self-loathing intellectual hero transformed into a nerdy-but-lovable computer geek. Charles Highway (Dexter Fletcher) has turned Swinging London into a science. He's created a

home-computer program into which he has poured the accumulated data of his love life, then constructed a technique with which to plot future seductions. But when Charles meets American playgirl Rachel Seth-Smith (Ione Skye), his system seems to break down.

Writer-director Damian Harris (son of actor Richard) gives the conventions of teen romantic comedy a realistic twist: for once, boy loses girl and both go their separate ways. As in the novel, Rachel (played well by Skye) is granted a certain gravity and complexity that defeats Charles's

scheming, and both characters use deception to gain their emotional ends. But the darker hues of Amis's story, though frequently discernible beneath the gloss, are ultimately submerged beneath the usual set of artistic compromises.

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