Havoc review by Matt Fuerst

I'm willing to say that a full three quarters (that's right, 75% suckas) of the film audience that has seen Havoc are dudes who have seen it because it's "the film where Anne Hathaway shows her who-whos". I happen to be male, and I'll leave the question of my motivation up to your sensibilities. In the defense of the guys, the movie is basically being marketed as "The movie where Anne Hathaway show's the headlights"... taken from the byline: "The elegant Anne Hathaway takes off her Princess Diaries crown..." (Hathaway is best known for her starring role in the Disney Princess Diary movies.) I guess I am supposed to talk about the movie here, not just the Hooter-factor, so here goes... Your typical "teens in trouble" movie goes something as follows: We see a group of troubled teens. We follow them for say 40 or so minutes doing some anti-social, but relatively harmless and seemingly fun stuff. Then a member or two of the group do something that's more risky, and potentially harmful. This has a bad effect on one of the teenaged deadbeats (be it a sexual disease, pregnancy, someone gets hurt or dies, etc..) and this is a big revealation of rest of the group.

I pretty much just described the plot structure of both Havoc and Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenaged Alcoholic. We join Allison (Hathaway) and her friends, identifying themselves as the "PLC" gang, hanging out in a park. In spite of not having an actual black person amongst them, they are all wrapped in Fubu and Rocawear garb, adorned in gold, speaking in accents and have their cars pimped out. Nearly immediately I found myself hoping for ill will for the whole damn group. The PLC, a group of silver spoon babies, are revolting against their parents by doing stupid shit like burning furniture and getting into the occasional rumble with a rival gang. Right on our afterschool-special timetable, things take a turn more serious. The group decides to actually take a trip into the Downtown gang area. Toby (Mike Vogel) decides to get lippy with a drug dealer Hector (Freddy Rodriguez). Hector don't play, and pulls his pistola on Toby, causing Toby to lose understandably wee wee control. Allison is scared by the whole situation, but at the same time drawn to Hector like a moth to a flame.

Allison continues to play with the real gangsters, returning downtown time and again. Finally returning with best friend Emily (Bijou Philips) they ask Hector to initiate them into their gang. As one might expect when two hot chicas are present in a den of horny gangsters, the initiation involves more than a little sexual activity. Queue up "intense situation that spirals out of control". The dominoes start to fall from here... people change, reflections are made. We are to judge the group, our society, teenagers today from the results.

I can't really blame Havoc for following the formula, pretty much every movie does, and there's no real reason to break out of it. Instead, one should judge Havoc on how well it works within the framework. Havoc gets some points, and loses some. First, the most blatant, is the characterizations. I don't know about you, but I find the whole fake "gangsta" lifestyle to be so offensively aggrevating that I immediately had a bad taste in my mouth. Yes these kids are just playing annoying, and should be congratulated for doing such a good job at it, but I'm sorry I just cannot get past my personal bias. I actually printed up pictures of the actors and spent the first 25 minutes bitch slapping Toby and giving Emily a stiff pimp hand. Man it was awful. Hathaway actually does a very good job in her chameleon role. She is confused, adapting to the PLC's gangster lifestyle, but trying to adapt to whatever may fill up the hole in her life. She transitions from scene to scene and personality to personality quite well.

A fairly well done movie. Characterizations that are well done, albiet in an exceedingly annoying manner. Honestly a better than average entry into the teenager-gone-bad genre. The last flick I saw in the genre was the highly critically acclaimed Thirteen. I would say that Havoc is actually better, less forced of a film. I have to admit that I am probably 10 years older than the intended audience. Oh yeah, and Anne Hathaway is a cutie. I am old school enough that I actually watched her in the Fox TV show "Get Real". Good stuff.


6 out of 10 Jackasses
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