Dare

2009

Drama / Romance

0
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 59%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 34%
IMDb Rating 5.8 10 4225

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN

Director

Cast

Chris Riggi as Josh
Brea Bee as Mel Drake
Cady Huffman as Dr. Kolton
Sandra Bernhard as Dr. Serena Mohr

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 5 / 10

awkward and uncertain sex triangle

Alexa Walker (Emmy Rossum) is a stressed-out high school drama geek. To her dismay, she's paired up with jock Johnny Drake (Zach Gilford) who doesn't care about their acting assignment. Even worst, former student and star actor Grant Matson (Alan Cumming) is impressed with him rather than her. She spirals downwards and ends up in detention with Johnny. She goes to her friend Courtney (Rooney Mara)'s party and has sex with Johnny. Her best friend Ben Berger (Ashley Springer) gets jealous. This becomes a series of sexual experimentations.

The structure of this movie is divided in three. The first part follows Alexa, the second part follows Ben, and the third part follows Johnny. It leaves the flow disjointed and the emotions disconnected. Alexa's part is standard high school drama. I really like her scene with Cumming. The Ben part is uncertain. By the time it's Johnny's part, I am lost emotionally with Alexa. The three leads are relatively good. Gilford puts up the most compelling performance. This film has an awkward, uncertain tone that keeps it from finding its feet.

Reviewed by Buddy-51 8 / 10

theater as metaphor

In "Dare," Alexa (played by the winning Emmy Rossum) is an inexperienced, socially inept teenaged actress who decides to become a "bad girl" so she'll be more in touch with the characters she's playing (her current role is that of the world-weary Blanche Dubois in a high school production of "A Streetcar Named Desire"). Not only does this open up a whole new realm of experiences for the young lady herself, but it leads to a chain reaction for the two most important people in her life: her geeky best friend, Ben (Ashley Springer), who becomes seemingly jealous when Alexi takes up with the school's brooding, arrogant jock, Johnny (Zach Gilford); and Johnny himself who reveals some surprising truths about himself before the story's over. "Dare" is all about the roles we take on at various points in our lives, and how different we can appear to the world once the masks we are wearing are stripped off - thereby making the theatrical context the story uses a metaphor for real life.

Writer David Brind has divided his story into three parts, each focused on a different main character (Alexi comes first, followed by Ben, then Johnny). Since this has been largely conceived and constructed as a parable, the narrative lacks credibility on occasion and the storytelling does become a bit heavy-handed at times, but some genuinely unexpected plot twists, a blunt and honest approach towards sex and sexuality, an intriguing look at the boundaries of friendship, and an overall complexity of character make the film difficult to dismiss out of hand. In fact, its strangeness is probably its most compelling feature. Brind and director Adam Salky are obviously going for something offbeat and unusual here, and it is all to the movie's advantage ("Dare" is actually a fleshed-out version of a short film Salky made a few years earlier).

Fans of "Friday Night Lights" will be intrigued at seeing Gilford in a role that appears at first blush to be diametrically opposed to the sweet and likable Matt Saracen he plays on the series, though, as the story progresses and more layers are peeled off the character, we discover that Matt and Johnny actually have quite a bit in common with one another - mainly their feeling that they are largely unloved and alone in the world (Matt just deals with it better).

In addition to the three striking leads, Alan Cumming and Sandra Bernhard lend their support to the project in small but significant roles.

Despite its imperfections, this tale of youthful self-discovery emerges as a thoughtful and insightful look at the often painful, confusing, fumbling - yet wholly necessary - efforts teenagers must go through to find their place in the world.

Reviewed by MBunge 4 / 10

Just stop it already!

Let's get a couple of things straight. This movie is rated R for sexual content but Emmy Rossum does not get naked in it. If that's what you're looking for, trust me, you won't find it here. What you will find is one of the reasons movie critics get so cranky. When you see a critic who appears overly harsh about a film's flaws, it could be because he or she has seen those same flaws in so many other movies. That's what happens with Dare. It does something I've seen in at least 2 or 3 other films and not only does it never work, I don't think it can work and don't understand why anyone ever thinks it would.

What Dare does is completely shift its focus from one character to another as it goes along. I'm not talking about focusing on many different people whose stories intersect or even telling the same story over again with different perspectives. I'm talking about one continuous story where the main character simply changes as you watch, oftentimes with a little notice on screen to indicate the change.

Where this storytelling device comes from is a mystery to me. What I am clear on is that it's defective, at least in the context of a motion picture. Whatever the theory or intent, the practical effect of doing this in a film is to ask the audience to do the same thing over and over again. At the start of the movie, the viewer is introduced to a character and asked to take an interest in their life. Then that character is either ejected or relegated to the background and the viewer is introduced to another character and asked to take an interest in their life. And that's repeated again and sometimes again and again and again.

The problem with this should be obvious. If the audience actually takes interest in the first character you show them, that's who they want to watch. They don't want that person to be replaced by some other character, either one they haven't seen before or one they have but has been established as a minor character in their minds. The first 10 or 15 minutes of a motion picture is usually when people figure out if they want to watch it or not. Rotating the main character is asking people to go through that introductory process over and over and that's not a natural thing.

Dare rotates through three main characters. Alexa (Emmy Rossum) is a virginal theater chick in her high school. Her story is about how she's emotionally repressed and inexperienced and how being taunted about that by a well known alumnus of her school transforms her into a slut. Next up to bat is Alexa's best friend Ben (Ashley Springer). His story is about how he's gay and…well, that's pretty much it. The commonality of the first two segments is that Alexa and Ben both have their first sexual encounter with the same guy. He's Johnny (Zach Gilford) and he takes over as the main character in the third and thankfully final part of the movie. After being shown as the cool but still somewhat dickish most popular kid in school, Johnny's segment is about how he's really even more screwed up than either Alexa and Ben because…blah, blah blah. Alexa's story is the only one I cared about and it gets shoved off screen just as they start to show the fallout of her making a radical change in her life, replacing it with the utterly-by-the-numbers tales of Ben and Johnny.

Well, utterly-by-the-numbers isn't accurate. Ben has sex with Johnny after he knows Alexa and Johnny have boinked and Johnny knows Alexa and Ben are best friends when he and Ben do it. I know kids today are supposed to be more sexually fluid, but that's pretty twisted and Dare loses its last chance to engage the audience by having Ben be totally unconcerned by such bed hopping, Johnny treating it like having to choose between chocolate and vanilla ice cream and Alexa acting as though the cross-copulating is like eating your salad with the wrong fork.

By the time Dare wraps up, it's clear that Alexa was ultimately a supporting character to Johnny's story and Ben was barely more than a bit part, even though the ending to Johnny's story happens entirely off camera. That's the kind of nonsensical structure you get from rotating main characters. It doesn't work and filmmakers need to stop doing it.

The acting and the direction of Dare are fine and the dialog is unmemorable, but none of that matters because it's so poorly structured. If this film were a house, it would be condemned and the only ones who could live in it would be families of raccoons. I could have overlooked that if Emmy Rossum had gotten naked. She doesn't, so I can't.

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