Bad Influence Reviews
(It's 5 stars from me, and a Hell of a good night from Rob.)
Lowe is fun to watch at first, but his act seems to wear off once things get more serious. Spader is meant to be the good guy here, but at one point he seems to be just as bad as Lowe.
Lisa Zane and Marcia Cross are the best things in the movie but both are under used big time. And hey in the night club scene, don't blink or you will miss a David Duchovny siting.
Some things are set up like they will be a big plot point, Spader buying stock, but are never mentioned again and the ending seemed far too easy, while also leaving it wide open.
See if for Lowe's crass character, but the story seemed to be edited down and missing stuff.
It came out just as the notorious sex scandal of its star Rob Lowe was breaking, casting a lot of similarities between his personal life and his seedy character in the film. It was unjustly ignored by audience. It's a shame really, because the picture holds up just as well today as it did then, a tight thriller that grows more sinister as it goes along all under the very capable direction of Curtis Hanson. He would gradate on to more serious fare, but he cut his teeth on suspense thrillers, and he has a real knack for them.
This is engrossing from start to finish, and it's perfectly cast as well. Lowe relishes the chance to play upon his tawdry public image, and James Spader is cast against type, wonderfully so, as the weakling who learns what he's truly capable of. The two actors play off each other terrifically, and it's nice to see the film avoid the graphic violence that plagues many like it. This is a suspense thriller, not a bloody mess.
It also gets points for being logical and plausible, as the pent-up Spader gets a chance to cut loose. "Bad Influence" is a top-notch picture, an overlooked one that deserves a second chance to find a new audience.