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Rated 3.01 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Beware the IN CROWD
by Betty Jo Tucker

Groucho Marx once declared, "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." In The In Crowd, Adrien Williams (Lori Heuring) would be better off adopting that philosophy. She’s a former psychiatric patient whose doctor (Daniel Hugh Kelly) finds her a job at a posh country club. While working there, she meets a group of beautiful, rich young people who notice her right away --- mostly because of her resemblance to the sister of their leader Brittany Foster (Susan Ward). Brittany goes out of her way to befriend Adrien. She gives her a sexy dress and invites her to various activities. Finding it hard to resist all this attention, Adrien gives in. But Brittany, who is not what she seems, soon involves her in murder, mayhem, and madness.

Unfortunately, we don’t care much about Adrien’s plight. Why not? Because she mistreats one of her fellow inmates in the film’s early scenes, violates her hospital probation by drinking and partying, and is stupid enough to meet with a killer on a dark night at a deserted golf course. In addition, bad acting by Heuring (The Newton Boys) puts us off. She seems to rely on just two emotional expressions --- surly and surlier.

Lack of a sympathetic main character is only one of the film’s many faults. Silly dialogue like "I’m so thirsty I could drink a glass of water" caused me to cringe at its banality. However, one particular line actually made some sense. When alcoholic Bobby (Nathan Bexton) greets Adrien with "Welcome to the world of the rich and tasteless," I couldn’t help thinking he was referring to the movie itself. Tastelessness is the order of the day for members of the in crowd. They talk about sexual exploits around a beach campfire, make fun of staff workers who wait on them, and do nothing when one of their group wagers sex with his girl friend on a game of pool, then loses.

Casting look-alike actors adds to the annoyance factor of this dreadful film. During some scenes, it’s hard to tell if Adrian and Brittany are interacting with Matt (Matthew Settle), the tennis pro who causes their rivalry, or with Tom (Ethan Erickson), another one of Brittany’s minions. The movie’s many darkly-photographed sequences contribute to this confusion. It’s film noir carried to the extreme.

And, where is that villain we love to hate --- a role so important to the success of most suspense thrillers? As the sinister Brittany, Ward (from television’s Sunset Beach) projects none of the evil necessary to make this character believable. With her baby-doll voice, big smile, gorgeous figure, and constant use of lip gloss, she’s more like Barbie come to life than a menacing murderer. Even her seduction scene with lesbian Kelly (Laurie Fortier), Brittany’s former best friend who is jealous of Adrien, generates chuckles, not shocks.

Director Mary Lambert (Pet Sematary) wanted The In Crowd to be "a psychological thriller filled with great looking people." Concentrating on the looks department (babes and studs galore cavorting in skimpy bathing suits), she came up short as far as thrills are concerned. And more bad luck! The In Crowd opened the same week as What Lies Beneath, an infinitely superior suspense film.

(A Morgan Creek Production released by Warner Bros. and rated "PG-13" for sexuality, violence, partial nudity, and some strong language.)

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