Bad Influence (1990)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Mar 9, 1990 (USA)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - R
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James Spader and the brat pack's Rob Lowe team up for this fatal friendship flick. With visual remnants of Less Than Zero and some themes that call to mind Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho, the film is a turn-of-the-decade look at Los Angeles' seedy underbelly. Scoping the inherent evils housed within Social Darwinism and materialism, the film takes place at the end of cocaine's glamorous heyday and chronicles the reckless hedonsim associated with the 1980s. The film starts off very strong but it quickly descends into a cornball abyss from which it never manages to extract itself. At times it is steered by some decent direction from Curtis Hanson and some good plot twists keep the viewer interested, but in the end the Bad Influence is simply lacking in production values and overall quality. While Spader is good in his wimp-turned-wildman role, the pernicious Rob Lowe is pretty painful to watch. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the film is the fact that it was released soon after a real-life scandal revolving around Lowe's own videotaping of his sexual adventures with an underage girl in a hotel room at the Democratic convention.