Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reality Bites (1994)

Synopsis: Bright Young Thing is torn between brooding slacker and high-powered douchebag.

Blurb From the VHS Jacket:Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Ben Stiller (directing his first feature film) star in this wildly funny romantic comedy that looks at life, love and the pursuit of gainful employment through the eyes of a generation sandwiched somewhere between The Brady Bunch and Melrose Place!”

What Did I Learn?: If you sell your documentary film to the “In Your Face” network (essentially a knockoff of MTV), there’s a pretty good chance they’re going to selectively edit it into a piece of exploitive trash.

Really?: I had a little trouble believing that Ryder, who plays a college valedictorian with a $400/week job in TV, would date a pot-smoking idiot with a chip on his shoulder, or hang out with a bunch of slackers. It’s also funny when she’s offered a job at the GAP, given her later problems with the long arm of the law.

Rating: Reality Bites is an interesting companion movie to Singles (I shudder to think how these two films have defined Generation X to the world, by the way), but is probably best viewed as a time capsule of the early/mid-1990s. It’s an enjoyable movie, but it needed a re-write; for a valedictorian, Ryder’s character is a mess, Hawke is just a surly loser, and everyone over the age of 30 is some sort of selfish twit. Watch for John Mahoney (best known as Fraser’s dad) as an obnoxious TV host, and David Spade as a fast food manager. 6.5/10 stars.

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