Wild Things (1998) starring Matt Dillon, Denise Richards, Neve Campbell, Kevin Bacon, Theresa Russell, Robert Wagner, Bill Murray directed by John McNaughton - movie review on The Movie Scene

Wild Things (1998)   3/53/53/53/53/5


Denise Richards, Matt Dillon and Neve Campbell in Wild Things (1998)

Dillon's on his Denise for Neve

Trashy, tacky, cheap and obvious are a few words which could be used to describe "Wild Things" starring Matt Dillon, Denise Richards, Neve Campbell and Kevin Bacon. But then for some reason I also quote enjoy the movie and it's not for the gratuitous sex scene or the Denise Richards and Neve Campbell pool scene. Nope, there something remarkably entertaining about this tale of sex and treachery which tries to be a thriller but ends up being a movie about a series of convoluted twists. It's hard to take "Wild Things" seriously even when it tries to be and with the inclusion of Bill Murray as a shyster lawyer there are moments which are laughable whether intentionally or not.

Sam Lombardo (Matt Dillon - In & Out) is a guidance counsellor for Blue Bay High School who's handsome looks makes him very popular with his young female students, especially Kelly Van Ryan (Denise Richards). When she tells her mother that Sam raped her whilst she was cleaning his jeep, they inform the local police where she tells her story to detectives Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon - Picture Perfect) and Gloria Perez (Daphne Rubin-Vega). Although sceptical over her claims, Duquette and Perez start investigating Sam and when another student Suzie (Neve Campbell - Scream 2) tells them that Sam did the same to her they have to bring him in. Meanwhile, Sam, convinced that he's being stitched up, goes to the only lawyer who is willing to take on the might and money of the Van Ryan family, Ken Bowden (Bill Murray - Kingpin).

Denise Richards and Neve Campbell in Wild Things (1998)

I don't know what it is but whilst for the most "Wild Things" tries to portray itself as a thriller with a storyline full of sexual intrigue it's hard to take it in the least bit seriously and is probably more enjoyable if you don't. The storyline itself is weak and in between all the revelations, the twists and duplicity there is little else to really capture your attention, which wouldn't be so bad if the twists were that unexpected. But they are for the most sign posted, easily guessable but also very amusing in a sort of Cluedo who dunnit manner. This is where it's important not to treat "Wild Things" as a real thriller more like a pastiche on the genre especially with Bill Murray basically playing it for laughs as the cheap trick lawyer.

There is of course another side to "Wild Things" and that is the supposedly erotic nature of the movie with much mentioned sex scenes. I have to say supposedly as this is in no ways an erotic thriller rather a movie with a variety of sex scenes, naked flesh and girl on girl kissing all manufactured for cheap thrills. The sex scene with a topless Denise Richards is nothing special; actually a little laughable in it's over the top stereotypical production. Plus the pool scene which features Denise Richards and Neve Campbell kissing is not in the least bit hot, rather than a rudimentary exercise in teenage titillation which is where "Wild Things" target market lies.

Performance wise, well other than the quirky performance from Bill Murray as the cheap trick lawyer there is little which really stands out. Matt Dillon looks good as the handsome guidance counsellor but doesn't deliver when it comes to the drama, whilst Denise Richards looks obviously sexy as the rich student but otherwise adds little too the movie, unless you count the topless scene. Neve Campbell is good as the feisty and slightly sluttish Suzie but suffers because of the sheer stupidity of the actual storyline. Then of course there is Kevin Bacon who despite not one for showing off his body does a full frontal as he climbs out of a shower. "Wild Things" is a very weird movie when it comes to the performances which are all best described as being cliché and cheesy.

What this all boils down to it that "Wild Things" is a very cliché, cheesy movie almost a pastiche on the thriller genre with its obvious storyline and inclination towards humour. But despite this and the poor performances there is something entertaining about it which keeps you watching, especially as the credits role they try to unravel the convoluted mess of the storyline with an explanation to how, what and why?. As for its erotic nature, well it's not really that erotic and other than the pool scene and for 30 seconds you get to watch Denise Richards topless there is little else to get excited about.


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