The Rules of Attraction (2002)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: A tiresome movie about unsympathetic college kids engaging in self-destructive behaviors.

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Movie Info

Set in an affluent New England liberal arts college in the 1980's, an emerging sexual triangle emerges between Sean Bateman, who deals drugs on the side, Paul Owen, who's bisexual, and Paul's ex-girlfriend, Lauren.
Rating:
R (for strong sexual content, drug use, language and violent images)
Genre:
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

James Van Der Beek
as Sean Bateman
Shannyn Sossamon
as Lauren Hynde
Jessica Biel
as Lara Holleran
Ian Somerhalder
as Paul Denton
Eric Szmanda
as NYU Film Student
Kip Pardue
as Victor Johnson
Clifton Collins Jr.
as Rupert Guest
Thomas Ian Nicholas
as Mitchell Allen
Eric Stoltz
as Mr. Lance Lawson
Faye Dunaway
as Eve Denton
Joel Michaely
as Raymond
Clare Kramer
as Candice
Curtis Anderson
as Guy Rolling Keg
Chase Hampton
as Townie
Swoosie Kurtz
as Mrs. Jared
Colin Bain
as Donald
Theresa Wayman
as Food Service Girl
Skyler Stone
as Quinlivan
Noelle Evans
as Crack Whore
Kavan Reece
as Handsome Dunce
Hayley Keenan
as Claudia
Michael Ralph
as Jamaican Guest
Malcolm Galt
as Hacky Sack Guy
Cheyenne Wilbur
as Maitre D'
Mathew Lang
as Getch
Paul Williams
as Duty Doctor
Ron Jeremy Hyatt
as At the Player Piano
Lucille M. Oliver
as Young Nurse
Drew Wood
as Jim From Dartmouth
Holly Hollywood
as Undressed to Get Screwed
Amber Smith
as Undressed to Get Screwed
Alaina
as Undressed to Get Screwed
Trisha Upton
as Undressed to Get Screwed
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Rules of Attraction

All Critics (137) | Top Critics (31)

Actually I quite enjoyed the movie--but how do I get rid of this awful discharge?

Full Review… | February 11, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The leads and their accomplices look dead glam, but it's never clear whether their vacuity is a deliberate strategy. Certainly Avary's style seems all for instant gratification.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Ellis' satire, filtered through Avary's harsh lens, is hard to stomach, harder to ignore.

November 19, 2002
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

The nonstop artifice ultimately proves tiresome, with the surface histrionics failing to compensate for the paper-thin characterizations and facile situations.

October 18, 2002
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

The bulk of Rules comes off like a cool-hand poser's at the wheel.

October 18, 2002
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

A party-hearty teen flick that scalds like acid.

Full Review… | October 17, 2002
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Rules of Attraction

½

Paul Denton: I feel like my life lacks forward momentum, ya know. "There Are No Rules" The Rules of Attraction was a very disappointing movie for me. Not because it was really bad or poorly made, but because it never was able to get its point across in a way that was satisfying. Along the way, the film has some interesting commentary and dark humor, but the message is lost. I haven't read the book, but I'm guessing that the movie left out something that was vitally important in getting the message across clearly.  This follows a love triangle at Camden University, where rich, young men and women go to party, do drugs, and have sex. I think classes go on there too, but it doesn't seem like many of the characters really give a shit. The love triangle is between Sean, Paul, and Lauren. Sean is a part-time drug dealer who falls in love with Lauren. Paul is a bisexual, who used to date Lauren and now has a thing for Sean. Lauren is a virgin, who is waiting for her boyfriend to come back from Europe, but also wants to lose her virginity. As far as college movies go, this one is completely different. It's dark, it's odd, and it all seems very hateful. There's no sympathy for the characters which isn't something that has ever made me hate a movie, and it doesn't make me hate this one. What made this a disappointment for me was that it had such promise the whole time, and then we get to the end and I'm just left confused at what the actual point is.  This is an entertaining movie that has some good things too say and some not so good things to say. In the end though I was left wanting more from it and it looks like that is the general response from most viewers. I'm not going to say to pass on it because it really isn't a bad movie, but I reserve myself from recommending it also. 

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Despite the great soundtrack, decent performances and expert direction, this drama feels a bit sterile, depicting with clever irony the moral decline of our society but not as efficient in making us relate to its shallow, unlikable characters.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

After watching this, I wanted to shave off my skin, blow my own brains out, then sit in a cold shower hugging my knees. James Van Der Beek is delightfully skeevy, and it was nice seeing gruff and comparatively aged Ian Somerhalder from "The Vampire Diaries" all young and cherub-cheeked. Hilarious against-type cameos from Fred Savage and Eric Stoltz.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

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