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Mini's First Time
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by Chris Wilson

"Mediocrity doesnít deserve a first time."
2 stars

Iíve never said this before and I doubt Iíll say it again: where was Denise Richards to save this movie?! Miniís First Time is being billed as a steamy, darkly funny neo-noir thriller. Itís none of these. Really, itís a ho-hum knockoff of Wild Things with Alec Baldwin filling in for Matt Dillon and Jeff Goldblum instead of Kevin Bacon. And without the amazing sleaze factor Denise Richards and company brought that classic flick, Mini's First Time is rendered nearly lifeless.

High school vamp Mini (Nikki Reed, an actress whose name and talent too closely resemble Tara Reid) despises her alcoholic failed actress mother (Carrie-Ann Moss). Because rebelling against a dependency suffering tramp takes some effort, Mini devotes her time to coming up with outrageous new experiences to try. She calls them ďfirst timesĒ which gives us the not-in-the-least-bit-subtle title. Mini nude jumps out of a cake at her own birthday party and from there moves on to high class prostitution. On her first night sheís set up with her father-in-law (Alec Baldwin). Heís so taken by her that heís easily convinced to help drive mom insane with drugs and pranks so they can be together in their endearing, borderline incestuous lust. Murder, a doggedly dedicated detective and predictable plot twists follow.

Iíll start with the good. Jeff Goldblum has one really great scene. Itís sleazy; itís funny; itís what this movie should have been. Come on people, a movie about a teenager sleeping with her step-dad and trying to institutionalize her mother is a bit sleazy. The makers just didnít go anywhere with it. Carrie-Ann Moss was also a guilty pleasure as the insult-spewing alcoholic mother. Alec Baldwin was there. Thatís never a bad thing. And it was kind of funny to see Rick Fox as a self-pimping masseuse for half a minute.

This all isnít to say the acting, or even casting for that matter, was well-done. Remember that doggedly dedicated detective? Heís played by Luke Wilson. The voice, the demeanor, the hairÖ all wrong. He came off more like a vaguely incessant, easy going tax inspector. Then thereís Nikki Reed. If she was enough of a terrible actress (or a complete genius) to ham this lame script up, my entire opinion of the movie might have been different. As is, her performance has zero fun but also zero subtlety.

Maybe what I didnít like was that everything about this movie was bland except the somewhat disturbing premise. Other than Goldblum and Moss, the acting was pretty pedestrian. Even the look of the whole production lacked any style. No wild camera angles or light to match its neo-noir tropes; what ended up on screen looked more like an episode of something off of the WB Ė functionally boring. Saddest of all, there were so many great opportunities for social jabs. Rich, beautiful people wasting their lives away with alcohol and sex then raising a young girl obsessed with the next big thrill sounds pretty rife for such things.

But the plain Jane writing in Miniís First Time wouldnít allow such things. There are a handful of better movies out there for each of its genre mash-ups. In fact, the writing was so formula driven that the ďtwistĒ (which Iíd seen coming for an hour) was thrown in at the end just because someone seemed to think that was what this type of movie is supposed to have Ė like giving an eight year old beauty pageant contestant Botox. If youíre going to put in the ubiquitous shocker ending (which is now predictably non-shocking) the least you can do is have a dozen or so twists strewn ahead of it. Take a lesson from Wild Things: if youíre going to do something dumb, at least do it in excess!

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14352&reviewer=400
originally posted: 06/26/06 23:29:42
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Tribeca Film Festival For more in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/18/06 rebecca i absolutely loved it!! 5 stars
6/25/06 joel muldoon saw it at Solstice fest-- sleeper hit of the summer 5 stars
6/11/06 Ken Shubin Funny, great performances, different 5 stars
6/05/06 Todd Brian Hilarious, edgy, weird, not to be missed 5 stars
5/21/06 Matt Katzive Great Dark comedy 5 stars
5/04/06 donald smithee great fun 5 stars
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  14-Jul-2006 (R)
  DVD: 24-Oct-2006



Directed by
  Nick Guthe

Written by
  Nick Guthe

  Alec Baldwin
  Nikki Reed
  Luke Wilson
  Carrie-Anne Moss
  Jeff Goldblum
  Svetlana Metkina

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