Abandon

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By Mark Ramsey | 2002/10/19

Katie Holmes is a college student keen on landing a job with hotshot management consultants McKinsey & Company. What’s her specialty anyway, Complexion Management? Zit Re-Engineering? Dawson-Pacey Trade-off Analysis? Total Hair-Quality Management?

Would the Fortune 500 really be better off under the guidance of a baby-faced newbie with a Cindy Brady lisp whose thesis is on “Emerging Really Cute Outfits in the Global Wireless Revolution”?

Well, maybe they would.

Look! Somebody must have washed off Julia Roberts’ tread-marks from Ben Bratt’s face with lots of greasy oil! Wow, Ben! At certain angles I can see myself! Take a roll of Bounty to that, will ya? If I sprinkled some vinegar on your head I could toss a lovely salad!

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Ben’s a cop who seems to be working out of his dimly lit living room when he’s not reporting to his rumpled captain played by rumpled actor Fred Ward.

Poor Ben Bratt couldn’t find stardom if MapQuest emailed him point-to-point driving directions. Nope, the walk of fame will not come calling courtesy of Abandon.

Ben plays “Wade Handler” – either a weak poke at irony or one of the worst character names I’ve heard – until I heard “Embry Langan,” Katie’s creepy missing boyfriend.

Embry’s rich, he’s artfully disheveled, he’s good looking, and he’s missing – like all rich, artfully disheveled, good looking people should be. Fortunately, this creates some breathing room for those of us who spend our days warming the bench of good fortune.

With his delicately tousled hair, Embry bounces in and out of this movie like a ghost in a Gap ad. I don’t know where he’s hiding, but wherever it is, there’s a mirror, some vanity lights, and a Beverly Hills stylist on retainer.

There are lots of drugs in this movie. They don’t get the audience high, but they do discourage you from driving heavy machinery while under their influence, since you’d surely want to drive it right through the projection booth – anything to stop the pain.

Katie seems to be in danger. I don’t know why, she just does. I think it’s because somebody’s playing “Katie’s in danger” music in the background.

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Normally, you’d expect a Katie Holmes vehicle to come with training wheels, but this ain’t no kiddie ride, folks. Katie parties hard and gets wasted, she strips and gets her groove on, she farts and a conga line of smitten pretty-boys follow the scent with their hearts beating out of their chests. Yes, Katie attracts guys like Noelle Bush attracts pharmaceuticals.

Katie Holmes she may be, Katie Hepburn she ain’t. Anybody with Katie’s limited cred who has this much going for them deserves a mediocre opening weekend and a non-stop back to Dawson’s Creek, if you ask me.

Bad as this movie is, every dark cloud has its proverbial silver lining, and here that lining is named Zooey Deschanel. Keep an eye out for gal-pal extraordinaire Zooey, the Vivian Vance of young Hollywood. As usual, Zoey’s got a lot more going on than the folks in the foreground. When will you give her a leading shot, Hollywood?!

You can see the inevitable twist ending telegraphed long before the closing scenes of this movie. By the time the wrap-up actually plays out, your “a-ha” is replaced by “uh-huh,” and the theater is beating with the sound of hundreds of impatient, drumming fingers.

Well, thirty fingers anyway. For the three people in the theater.


Photos Copyright ©2002 Paramount Pictures

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