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HAVOC (director: Barbara Kopple; screenwriters: Stephen Gaghan/based on a story by Stephen Gaghan/Jessica Kaplan; cinematographer: Kramer Morgenthau; editor: Nancy Baker; music: Cliff Martinez; cast: Anne Hathaway (Allison Lang), Bijou Phillips (Emily Rubin), Shiri Appleby (Amanda), Michael Biehn (Stuart Lang), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Sam), Freddy Rodriguez (Hector), Laura San Giacomo (Joanna Lang), Mike Vogel (Toby), Raymond Cruz (Chino), Matt O’Leary (Eric), Channing Tatum (Nick); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Jack F. Murphy; New Line Home Video; 2005)
“Yo! Dawg! This is a youth drama about bored white rich kids in L.A. acting black.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Yo! Dawg! This is a youth drama about bored white rich kids in L.A. acting black. If you want to know how bored they are, in the film’s opening moments star Anne Hathaway says “We’re teenagers and we’re bored. So totally fucking bored.” I got news for that white bitch hottie, this vacuous film bored me … indeed, it bored the hell out of me.

This Barbara Kopple (“American Dream”) directed soft-core porn piece of trash, from a two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker, is a “straight-to-video” film. It’s an exploitation film that even fails at that (could have used some more exploitation to go all the way into the pits instead of shooting for conventional filmmaking). It seems like noted documentary filmmaker Kopple has taken a big slide downward in her first foray into fiction film-making. Thirty years ago she made the acclaimed Harlan County, a straightforward cinema verite look at the coal miners’ strike in Kentucky. Havoc is based on the brain-dead story and script by Stephen Gaghan, who previously turned in scripts for the overrated Traffic and the muddled but intriguing Syriana (which he also directed). Actually Havoc was his first screenplay. It features the most obnoxious and unlikable cast you may ever encounter.

Havoc tells of a group of rich white wannabe teen gangstas who cruise one night in their Mercedes to the Hispanic East L.A. ghetto and hook up with a dangerous drug dealer named Hector (Freddy Rodriguez) of the 16th Street Crew. Allison Lang (Anne Hathaway) is the sexy teenage child of absentee successful parents, her best friend is Emily (Bijou Phillips). Tobey (Mike Vogel) is Allison’s posturing gangsta boyfriend who gets humiliated by Hector over a heroin buy; Sammy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is Emily’s hip-hop talking boyfriend. The dumb-assed girls return without the boys to meet the Hispanic gang and get more thrills and bumps than what they bargained for when they begged the thugs to join their gang.

The film is noted for having the previously squeaky clean Hathaway of The Princess Diaries, appear bare-assed and in a number scenes showoff her jugs. Though it sought to depict gritty L.A. street life and contrasting cultures, it never looked anything but fake. The only thing that wasn’t fake were Hathaway’s titties.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”