The Boston Phoenix


REVIEWED: 02-02-98

First-time filmmakers Joshua and Jonas Pate take The Preppie Murder and twist it into a jagged little mind game that unfolds through a series of polygraph tests. Tim Roth carries the film as an effete Ivy League grad who's linked to the heinous butchery of a high-priced call girl (Renee Zellwegger doing an about-face in her follow-up to Jerry Maguire). Bearing down on him are Michael Rooker and Chris Penn as the ace lie-detector dicks assigned to crack the case. They seem to have Roth dead to rights, but as the interrogations wear on, the sly cunning of the epileptic yuppie turns the cops' weaknesses against themselves and obscures the truth. Unfortunately, the Pate brothers are so enamored of the hip allure of their craftsmanship that they omit character development. Roth's morose exuberance -- reminiscent of his foppish swordsman from Rob Roy -- keeps things entertaining for a while, but in the end it's only the audience that gets deceived.

--Tom Meek

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