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Havoc

Year: 2005
Production Co: Media 8 Entertainment
Director: Barbara Kopple
Writer: Jessica Kaplan/Stephen Gaghan
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Biehn, Freddy Rodriguez, Mike Vogel, Laura San Giacomo

Somebody wanted to make a story that made us sorry for rich kids living in mansions along the LA coast with high-powered parents who don't have time for them – no wonder it didn't catch on.

Even heroine Allison (Hathaway) says to the friend who's always videoing everything (he's doing a school documentary but his presence gives the script the opportunity to dispense a lot of exposition), if she complains people will just say 'look at your life'. While young poor black kids are being locked up and gunned down across the city her and her friends all have designer clothes and their own cars.

But they're imploding with boredom and in Allison's case, starving for honest attention from parents – the scene of her meeting her Dad (Biehn) for lunch is painfully awkward. So they get in fights, take drugs and subscribe to urban black culture in an effort to look cool even though they have no idea how stupid it makes them sound.

After Allison, her all-front boyfriend, his so-wigger-it's-funny friend (Gordon-Levitt) and her best friend Emily (Phillips) drive downtown to score some weed and cross the wrong Spaniard they're left fleeing with their tails between their legs when they come up against the threat of real danger.

But Allison can't stop thinking about how exciting it all was, and she takes her friends back, befriending Hector (Rodriguez) and his posse of homies to find the family they're missing at home.

But it all gets too serious during a disturbing gang-initiation evening, and even though the stakes are high for Allison and Emily it can't help feeling a little anticlimactic.

Some of the dialogue is a little forced because the script by then-24 year old Kaplan (who died soon after) and Syriana wunderkind Stephen Gaghan wants to shock us and doesn't do a good enough job at hiding it.

I only wanted to see it because of the promise of seeing Anne Hathaway get her gear off and shag (you see more of her in Love and other Drugs if that's all you're after), but it showed promise. Unfortunately, despite a good performance from a very accomplished lead and being well shot it mostly amounts to kids trying to be adults while they're too stupid to realise they're only kids with too much time on their hands.

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