Indie spotlight: ‘All the Boys Love Mandy Lane’ and ‘CBGB’
‘All the Boys Love Mandy Lane’
2 (out of 5) Globes
Director Jonathan Levine’s slight twist on a “Friday the 13th”-style slasher first hit the festival circuit in 2006. In that time Levine has directed three big features (including “50/50” and “Warm Bodies”) and its star, Amber Heard, has become a moderate name. (She’s among the overpacked ensemble distracting attention from Danny Trejo in “Machete Kills.”) Distribution woes (some of them predictably Harvey Weinstein-related) have turned this into a cause celebre, a state it’s too feeble to live up to. Heard plays a high school junior (current age: 27) who’s gone from wallflower to hottie. Suddenly she has the attention of the jocks and Heathers types, and a weekend retreat to a cabin for booze and drugs leads to the gang being dispatched one by one by a mysterious stranger. The look is prettier than most slashers, but the first hour and change are little more than boilerplate gorefest with a mild and superficial indie sheen. The third act twist is what’s made this one’s inflated reputation, but it’s what makes this more risible than a mere genre entry. [SPOILERS COMMENCE] Levine has shown problems with female characters in his other films, and this one’s no different. As in “The Wackness” and the Bryce Dallas Howard subplot of “50/50,” women are seen as duplicitous monsters who betray sensitive boys who thought they were doing the right thing. Even when it’s just killing popular kids off, “Mandy Lane” appears to have something under its sleeve. Turns out that something is not something good.
1 out of 5 Globes