By Shawn McKenzie 10/17/2002
Just when you think the Creek is going to be okay, a movie like Abandon comes out and you get worried again. What am I talking about here? Earlier this week I gave a good review to “Dawson’s Creek” alum James Van Der Beek’s new movie The Rules of Attraction (see my review.) I called for the end of the show so Van Der Beek could be free to do more movies. If fellow Creeker Katie Holmes keeps making more movies like Abandon, she may want to consider doing a seventh season on the Creek.
Holmes plays Catherine Burke, a college student who is under pressure as she faces exams, the completion of her thesis, and a competitive job hunt. The stress of it all is causing her to see her old boyfriend, Embry Langan (Charlie Hunnam), a spoiled brat kid who disappeared two years ago. A police detective named Wade Handler (Benjamin Bratt) is called in to investigate the possibility that Embry might be back. Wade is a depressed alcoholic who is seriously considering leaving the force. As the investigation continues, he and Catherine start falling for each other. The only thing stopping her from pursuing a relationship with Wade is the obsessive visits from Embry. Wade also begins to discover surprising new facts about Embry and his possible connection to the disappearance of a student named Harrison (Gabriel Mann), another guy who is obsessed with Catherine.
For a supposed “thriller,” this movie isn’t thrilling or chilling. It is very boring and slow. Writer and first-time director Stephen Gaghan has no direction for this movie. This is surprising since he is the writer of the screenplay for the very creative Oscar nominee Traffic (which just goes to show you that the creativity of that movie was mainly the product of Steven Soderbergh’s directing.)
Holmes does an okay job in her role, but it’s not much of a stretch for her. In fact, the stressed out student part of her character might make you start seeing Joey Potter all over again.
Hunnam isn’t very scary as the obsessive boyfriend. The TV show he was in last season, “Undeclared,” was one of my favorites of last season, but I thought Hunnam was the least impressive of the cast.
The relationship between Catherine and Wade is disturbing, but I don’t think that was intended. I know she is an adult at the age of 23, but seeing love scenes between Holmes and 38-year-old Bratt is creepy. He looks like he could be her dad!
There is one bright spot in the movie, and her name is Zooey Deschanel. She plays Catherine’s best friend who always has a smart-alecky thing to say to someone. Her performance alone knocks the rating up a whole peg. She was the foul-mouthed store announcer in The Good Girl and I can’t wait to see her in a lead role.
Abandon has a good title, because it is what I suggest that you do to this movie if you see it at the theater. If you want to be thrilled and chilled, this movie ain’t gonna cut it.
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