Sigh. I don’t know why I bother; you’re not going to believe me. All right, here goes:
The In Crowd is not a remake of the crummy late-’80s Donovan Leitch vehicle—it’s an even worse idea starring even more incapable products of “young Hollywood.” Inspired no doubt by the raving success of The Skulls, someone has perpetrated this teen thriller about naughty and possibly psychotic rich kids acting up at a swank country club. With the slick yuppie nightmare Bad Influence as a template and glossy dollops of the sexy but vapid Cruel Intentions providing the sexual scheming and lesbian tendencies, The In Crowd purports to frolic in the sun- and cash-kissed sandy isles of dissipated heiresses but instead wanders the most landlocked of dunderheaded Hollywood wastelands. There isn’t so much action as one set of posings giving way to another; the script veers nauseatingly between predictable and incoherent, and everyone in it is so polished and pampered that the whole thing looks to have been acted out by vinyl figurines.
The lead character, Adrien (Lori Heuring), is released from a nuthouse much like the one in Girl, Interrupted—peopled entirely by beautiful teenage girls with perfect teeth, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail’s Castle Anthrax—and sent to work at a country club where only Dr. Thompson (Daniel Hugh Kelly) knows her secret. Dr. Thompson’s relationship to the country club is not clear. After initial suspicion on the part of the hardbodied babes who frequent the place, parentless, day after day, Adrien is taken under the guidance of Brittany (Susan Ward), who looks approximately like the printout that would result were one to feed a computer images of Tiffani-Amber Theissen and Denise Richards simultaneously. The kids never seem to go home, and they may even live at the resort; it’s not clear. Adrien is initially dropped off at Brittany’s house, which is on the grounds; it’s not clear why.
Anyway, Brittany treats Adrien to various liquor-soaked beach parties, beauty-salon sessions, and high-priced girl treats, arousing the suspicion of sensible Kelly and the mouth-breathing apathy of the rest of the bikini’d morons. There are also two dark-haired guys, totally indistinguishable except that one is named Matt and the other is named Tom and one is a tennis pro and the other a golf pro—they either work at the country club or one of them does or neither; it’s not clear. Adrien gets cozy with one of them, making Brittany jealous, unless she wants the other one; it’s not clear.
The point is that these kids are very, very rich and have no morals, and that Brittany is a nasty piece of work—possibly a murderous one. She is using Adrien for her own ends, which remain fuzzy to the rich kids even though Adrien is a dead ringer for Brittany’s missing sister, Sandra, a much-loved life-of-the-party who, by all accounts, out-Brittanyed Brittany until the day she, uh, left for Europe.
The script holds out the frequent promise of hot girl-on-girl action and juicy murders, the former of which is nothing but a tease and the latter only decorously implied. What we’re left with is bikinis and martinis, and the kind of slaying, bitchy banter only the young, wealthy, and brainless in crap movies like this indulge in: Brittany says to Adrien, “Matt [or maybe Tom] has been here five years and hasn’t been fired yet. Who knows? By the end of the summer, you could be running the place.” Ouch! That would smart, if it made any damn sense at all. At the kids’ decadent cocktail parties, the overheard conversation is on the level of “How much did Daddy give you? Ten thousand?” and their idea of a good time is to dance like spazzes with an appalling lack of shame.
This is supposed to be a prurient good time, along the lines of Wild Things, which at least had the sense not to blame an excess of cash flow for the hot young schemers’ bad behavior. Adrien’s purported insanity—a vivid example of which we’re treated to in the opening scene—proves to be a red herring of the stinkiest species, and one credibility-stretching moment piles upon another while the camera tries to distract you with tricks moderne. Kelly, the one member of the tribe who has good reason to fear Brittany, decides it’s a good idea to accept the offer of a night sail a deux with the lunatic murderess. (She’s naturally weak, though, what with her lesbian tendencies.)
It’s not all tits, ass, and bloody golf clubs, though; screenwriters Mark Gibson and Philip Halprin nod in the direction of the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. The In Crowd signals villainous plotting with an Evil Accessory, just the way Strangers on a Train uses the gold cigarette lighter. Every time the wheels begin to turn in Brittany’s head, she makes her signature gesture of bad intentions: She applies lip gloss. I told you you wouldn’t believe me. CP