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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.86%
Worth A Look: 7.04%
Pretty Bad: 18.31%
Total Crap: 14.08%

8 reviews, 23 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"Promising Start Flushed By Plot Twists"
3 stars

Is there a greater sin in the movies than to take a fascinating idea for a movie only to destroy it? With a just plain horrendous movie, you feel no love’s labour lost. You might even get a delight out of a film being so dreadfully bad. But a movie that starts with a interesting, topical idea and then flushes it by the sixty-minute mark, is one of the worst experiences an audience can muster, because it raises your hopes and doesn’t fulfill them. It’s like a rollercoaster ride that elevates you 200 feet in the air only to get stuck at the top.

Gossip starts out promising as three college students, who live in one of those enormously expensive studio apartments, decide to start a rumor and track it. Not for fun, but as a project for what appears to be nothing more than an electives course on news and gossip and what defines the two. Eric Bogosian plays the professor and at the very least makes the class interesting enough to consider taking. But I digress. Derrick (James Marsden), Jones (Lena Headey) and Travis (Norman Reedus) are the three friends. Derrick and Jones aren’t sleeping together (yet) and Travis is one of those “photograph” artists whose art makes sense to nobody but himself. The three of them conspire to spread this rumor after Derrick witnesses the fooling around and subsequent passing out of Naomi (Kate Hudson) whose boyfriend Beau (Joshua Jackson) abandons her in a party loft. The film wisely keeps us in the dark as to what exactly happened here, so we can form our own judgments (as we are prone to do). As the rumor is circulated throughout the college campus, with all sorts of scenarios optioned, Naomi becomes convinced that she was taken advantage of while she slept. There’s no real proof, but who needs proof when gossip becomes front page news these days. Beau is then arrested under suspicion of rape and the circle of friends begin to doubt their project. It’s right about here where the film takes a wrong turn into nowhere. A plot twist takes effect, that at first is relatively intriguing (and surprising), but it becomes the focal point for the final 45 minutes and transforms Gossip into nothing more than another generic teen flick. But I digress.

This movie had every opportunity to be either a blazing satire or a penetrating drama about the place of gossip in our society. Gossip columnists are becoming commonplace in the print media as well as on the nightly news and internet sites. (The internet is noticeably absent from the film.) Newspapers and the police follow hunches and leads, most of the time from hearsay sources and the public convicts people almost instantly lending credence to the reversal that you are guilty until proven innocent. Men are capable of hurting women physically, while women can use words as power to destroy the likes of men (and women), especially when they have money. Gossip misses the point and ends up a confused mess of a movie. Instead of dealing with the virtual consequences of “he said, she said” matters of crime, the movie derails into a version of “Who’s the rapist?” where the man, once again, winds up with the short end of the script.

The acting is actually better than most generic teen stories and it moves along well. Lena Headey displays a kind of natural confidence in her performance giving her a real screen presence. It would have been nice to give more of a voice to Joshua Jackson’s boyfriend character to get a sense of his feelings through his ordeal and why he isn’t more steamed at his girlfriend, especially towards the end. And Edward James Olmos and Sharon Lawrence get the chance to revisit characters they essentially played on TV on Miami Vice and NYPD Blue, respectively. But like the movie, I digress.

By the end of the film ask yourself this question – What exactly was the point of Gossip supposed to be? It starts out as a commentary on teenagers, accusations and the media but then shifts into a third-rate Hardy Boys mystery barely worthy of a sequel premise to last year’s film version of The Mod Squad. Maybe that was the writer’s way of slyly getting his message across, but I would never grant such credit or write any more words than necessary since the author raised my hopes and couldn’t deliver by not writing something more profound himself. Like its title subject matter – Gossip spirals out of control until you forgot what the original story was in the first place.

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originally posted: 04/22/00 02:23:28
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User Comments

10/15/15 David Hollingsworth waste of time 1 stars
6/23/11 art i say NO DICE to this FLOP! 1 stars
3/11/07 cody a good movie with lot twists and turns, with storyline that is very juicy, but it run out 3 stars
8/10/06 caterina Awesome 4 stars
2/10/05 laura horrendously awful with a twist that you can see coming from miles off 1 stars
2/15/04 k86warrior different and entertaining....BRILLIANT! 5 stars
1/26/04 Lisa surreal, but interesting 4 stars
8/02/03 Jin No one studies but this hits the mark anyhow.... 5 stars
6/29/03 Jack Sommersby Totally absurd yet admittedly entertaining. 3 stars
1/05/02 seldom scene very very entertaing and not preachy, well worth watching 5 stars
12/12/01 Jess Izzard LOVED the atrwork, nice twist at the end 4 stars
9/18/01 Stephanie Superb! 5 stars
7/04/01 Caroline Demspter Interesting idea and characters play believable roles. 3 stars
7/04/01 Piz a disaster that keeps getting worse...give it to your teen sister. 2 stars
4/01/01 piper dalloway great 5 stars
2/11/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Well...I didn't vomit... 3 stars
2/10/01 Melinda Stroud I liked the movie but mostly for Norman Reedus. He always delivers. 3 stars
1/22/01 Duke JJ is hot in any movies he do 5 stars
11/03/00 Trina Worth the $3 rental 4 stars
5/06/00 Laura Entertaining, definitely not a brain drain 4 stars
4/28/00 Captain Highcrime Could've been alright if it didn't (very unsuccessfully) try to become The Game at the end. 3 stars
4/23/00 The Rock Sucked bigtime!!! 1 stars
4/22/00 Your Sister's Cousin's Former Roommate One of those movies that keeps you alert; very absorbing; and James Marsden totally rules! 5 stars
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  21-Apr-2000 (R)


  14-Sep-2000 (M)

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