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  Kaboom Sexual Reeling
Year: 2010
Director: Gregg Araki
Stars: Thomas Dekker, Haley Bennett, Chris Zylka, Roxane Mesquida, Juno Temple, Andy Fischer-Price, Nicole LaLiberte, Jason Olive, James Duval, Brennan Mejia, Kelly Lynch, Carlo Mendez, Christine Nguyen
Genre: Comedy, Sex, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Smith (Thomas Dekker) is an eighteen-year-old college student who has been having this same, weird, recurring dream ever since he arrived in the dorm. He sees himself walking naked down a corridor, and passes a few people on the way, some he recognises such as his best friend Stella (Haley Bennett) and his mother (Kelly Lynch), and others he does not though they feel significant in ways he cannot quite understand. But once he reaches the end of the corridor and opens a door there, the only thing he finds is a big, red dumpster - so what can it mean?

Even by the ending of this you might not be wholly sure, but such were the wacky pleasures of Gregg Araki's Kaboom, if you could call them pleasures, as this was one of his efforts where you could well see how his work rubs people up the wrong way. Yet oblivious to the haters, he ploughed on with his mixture of too cool for school posturing and out of nowhere plot developments, along with a hefty dose of sexual intercourse: the title as much refers to the possible end of the world as much as it does the orgasms the characters frequently enjoy. Indeed, after a while it looked as if Araki was trying to see how many randy permutations he could put his characters in.

So one will hook up with another, who hooks up with someone else, and so forth until you wonder why the director didn't just get it all out of his system and make a porno. Although if he did that he might marginalise those who genuinely enjoyed his movies - if they were not marginalised enough as it was - though such was the landscape of the cult filmmaker, and Araki by this stage appeared as comfortable as he would ever be in detailing the flip nihilism of those who populated his stories. So if your tolerance was high for characters acting as if they knew fine well they were the greatest thing in the room, and everyone else was just ugh, then laughs may well have ensued as intended.

To be fair, not everyone here has that aloof, sarky attitude, although Stella appears to be aiming for a monopoly on that behaviour which makes any scene with her something of a drain on the patience, but Dekker managed a likeability simply due to his role demanding he be permanently unsure, even confused, about what the hell was going on. Also along for the ride were his surfer dude roommate Thor (Chris Zylka) who he fancies, a neat portrayal of dim self-absorption, and the girl the sexually uncertain Smith gets together with while stoned at a party, the none too imaginatively named London (Juno Temple), so called because, er, she's English, and wavering between sympathetic and Stella's get out of my face mindset.

Studying doesn't seem to be on the agenda, as is the case with so many of the college based movies you've seen over the years, so Araki prefers to indulge in the mystery of what was actually happening, which turns out to be some kind of conspiracy. Even that is approached with an insincere allusion to the internet's idea of a Machiavellian scheme on a global scale, which leaves you doubtful as to how seriously the director was wanting us to react to all this. Throw in various fantasy, horror or sci-fi elements such as the red-haired girl (Nicole LaLiberte) who Smith thinks has been murdered, but cannot be sure especially when she shows up apparently alive later on, an actual lesbian sex witch (Roxane Mesquida), and a gang of sinister figures in animal masks who may or may not be part of a cult, and even revelations about Smith's origins because it's the sort of movie where the ordinary bloke is actually very special, and you had a mishmash which Araki kept light, breezy and jokey. Or annoying, depending on your point of view.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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