Cinema Review: Careful What You Wish For | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Careful What You Wish For

Studio: Starz Digital Media
Directed by Elizabeth Allen

Jun 10, 2016 Web Exclusive
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Geek chic hasn’t arrived in the world of Careful What You Wish For. When we first meet Doug (Nick Jonas) proper, he’s being ridiculed for taking a pile of books on his summer lakeside vacation. And that’s just from his parents. It’s indicative of a film that doesn’t try too hard to create believable characters. The best friend (Graham Rogers) is a sex-obsessed simpleton, the local Sheriff (Paul Sorvino) an overweight good ol’ guy, the new neighbor (Dermot Mulroney) a cruel and money obsessed investment banker, and his wife Lena (Isabel Lucas) a straight forward object of desire in this lazy erotic thriller.

At least Doug’s plunge into forbidden summer romance turned torrid crime nightmare is a glossy affair. Scenery is pretty and edges nicely buffed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how many layers of varnish are applied if there’s nothing underneath. Elizabeth Allen’s film, directed from Chris Frisina’s risible screenplay, is one long process of scratching away surface shine to reveal a whole load of nothing.

The set-up involves a horny teenager who just can’t say no to his sexy neighbor, even when a dead body shows up. At least Jonas gives a good account of himself in the lead role. He brings a nice line in confusion, although his character gets far too comfortable far too quickly in his illicit affair with the woman next door, and he never convinces as the science talking girl repellent bookworm he’s meant to be.

Lucas is an entirely different matter. To be fair, she’s not helped by a screenplay that seems more interested in shots of her rising from the lake in slow motion, or stretched out on a lounger in her bikini, but that isn’t enough to explain such a limp performance. Every line is a flaccid disappointment, out of time and lacking in energy. The film seems more interested in delivering up an attractive clothes horse than it does creating the possible femme fatale that’s supposed to drive key plot developments.

If the romance never makes much sense, it’s a hell of a lot clearer than the ridiculous lurch in the final act. To free himself from murder charges, Doug is left cycling frantically around trying to stay one step ahead of a motley crew of pursuers. Unsure where to go, an utterly ludicrous twist arrives to close proceedings, one that undermines much of the previous action.

For a little while, there’s a certain cheesy charm, further supported by Jonas’ solid performance. Ultimately though, Careful What You Wish For fails on two counts. As a purported erotic thriller, it’s neither particularly erotic nor remotely thrilling.

Author rating: 3/10

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