Girls gone wild

New Best Friend

Directed by Zoe Clarke Williams

(Mia Kirshner, Meredith Monroe, Taye Diggs, Dominique Swain)

R

 

 

 

 

One can only try to imagine what was running through the minds of the Powers That Be concerning their decision to release director Zoe Clarke-Williams’ New Best Friend-a film that’s been collecting dust since 1999. Perhaps they figured a release amidst films like National Lampoon’s Van Wilder and Sorority Boys would prove their latest attempt at “filmmaking”-and I use the term loosely.

I’m guessing the producers reached their wits’ ends and figured if two girls doing the nasty worked in Mulholland Drive, then why shouldn’t it work here?

Well, there are too many reasons to count, but it doesn’t hurt listing a few. In a performance that has “paycheck” written all over it, Taye Diggs stars as a sheriff hired by Colby College to investigate the mysterious events that led former honor student Alicia (Mia Kirshner, running a truly spectacular gamut of emotions) into a coma. Diggs’ instincts bring him to the sorority house of three very lusty co-eds (Meredith Monroe, Dominique Swain, and Rachel True) who experiment with hallucinogens and secret lesbian activities. It seems that Alicia and the girls became friends but had a bitter falling out, resulting in backstabbing, boyfriend stealing, and just about every other cliché in the genre. We see this all through a dizzying, non-linear narrative that someday may be an example in a film studies course about how not to shoot a flashback sequence.

Sometimes trash like this can work, and if you have any doubts just check out the early work of John Waters or Peter Jackson. New Best Friend’s tone is so smarmy in comparison and its theme is so overdeveloped that it will certainly miss cult status and land squarely in the heap of movies discarded from past episodes of network USA’s Up-All-Night.

It’s films like this that probably inspired Jennifer Westfeldt and Heather Juergenson, the intelligent writers of Kissing Jessica Stein, to mock such inapt portrayals of homosexuality. If their film is the antidote, then New Best Friend is surely the poison, both for the brain and the box office.

-Charlie Hobart

New Best Friend opens Friday .