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Cruel Intentions

605 customer reviews

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(Aug 03, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Sarah Michelle Gellar (I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream 2, TV's Buffy The Vampire Slayer) and Ryan Phillippe (I Know What You Did Last Summer, 54) sizzle as a pair of unscrupulous siblings in a deliciously sexy tale of seduction, revenge and conquest. After cleverly seducing and ruining the reputation of an unsuspecting classmate (Selma Blair, Can't Hardly Wait, Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane), the sparks fly when Kathryn (Gellar) poses the ultimate challenge to her insatiable stepbrother Sebastian (Phillippe): deflower the Headmaster's beautiful, virgin daughter Annette (Reese Witherspoon, Pleasantville, The Man In The Moon). If he fails, Kathryn gets his most prized possession, but if he succeeds, Sebastian gets to possess and bed Kathryn. The stakes are high, but for Sebastian, the payoff is feverishly irresistible and before the summer's over, no one will escape their relentless game of cat and mouse until one of them is bitten by the most unlikely sensation of all

This modern-day teen update of Les Liaisons Dangereuses suffered at the hands of both critics and moviegoers thanks to its sumptuous ad campaign, which hyped the film as an arch, highly sexual, faux-serious drama (not unlike the successful, Oscar-nominated Dangerous Liaisons). In fact, this intermittently successful sudser plays like high comedy for its first two-thirds, as its two evil heroes, rich stepsiblings Kathryn (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Sebastian (Ryan Phillippe), blithely ruin lives and reputations with hearts as black as coal. Kathryn wants revenge on a boyfriend who dumped her, so she befriends his new intended, the gawky Cecile (Selma Blair), and gets Sebastian to deflower the innocent virgin. The meat of the game, though, lies in Sebastian's seduction of good girl Annette (a down-to-earth Reese Witherspoon), who's written a nationally published essay entitled "Why I Choose to Wait." If he fails, Kathryn gets his precious vintage convertible; if he wins, he gets Kathryn--in the sack. When the movie sticks to the merry ruination of Kathryn and Sebastian's pawns, it's highly enjoyable: Gellar in particular is a two-faced manipulator extraordinaire, and Phillippe, usually a black hole, manages some fun as a hipster Eurotrash stud. Most pleasantly surprising of all is Witherspoon, who puts a remarkably self-assured spin on a character usually considered vulnerable and tortured (see Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Liaisons). Unfortunately, writer-director Roger Kumble undermines everything he's built up with a false ending that's true to neither the reconceived characters nor the original story--revenge is a dish best served cold, not cooked up with unnecessary plot twists. --Mark Englehart

Special Features

  • Making-of Featurette
  • Creative Intentions: Finding a Visual Style Featurette
  • Music Video "Every You, Every Me" by Placebo, and Marcy Playground music video
  • 6 Deleted Scenes with Director's Introduction

Product Details

  • Actors: Sarah Gellar, Selma Blair, Ryan Phillippe, Christine Baranski, Louise Fletcher
  • Directors: Roger Kumble
  • Producers: Neal H. Moritz, Neal Moritz
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 3, 1999
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (605 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00001PE4D
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,687 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Cruel Intentions" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 52 people found the following review helpful By D. Roberts VINE VOICE on December 21, 2003
Format: DVD
This is a Romantic Comedy of the very dark variety. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays one of the most wicked femme fatales (Kathryn) you will ever encounter on-screen. Reese Witherspoon portrays the typical all-American, virtuous midwestern girl (Annette). In between is a womanizer, Sebastian, played by Ryan Phillippe.
All of the characters in the movie are fabulously wealthy, but more than a few are deficient when it comes to matters of the heart. People who enjoy eye candy will enjoy some of the sets of this movie - particularly the lavish indoor swimming pool @ the cottage.
Sebastian and Kathryn make a bet: can the suave playboy score on Annette? This, along with a web of insidious sub-plots form the core of the movie's plot. In each and every case, Kathryn and Sebastion outwit everyone else in the film in order to manipulate circumstances into their favor. Occasionally, they even dupe each other.
Over the course of the film, however, Sebastian's character begins to change, albeit slightly. Meanwhile, Kathryn remains the cold-hearted and sadistic wench she always was. It is a credit to the acting ability of Phillippe that the change in character becomes apparent and we're actually compelled to care for him by the end of the film.
To answer the $60,000 question on whether a sweet innocent girl can have a significant impact on a life-long playboy, watch the film. However, be prepared for one of the darkest comedies you will ever see. It's downright cruel - intentionally so.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By anna on April 15, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Cruel Intentions is certainly not the usual bubblegum teenybopper movie--a fair warning: unless they are extremely open-minded and relaxed about sex, language, etc., don't rent this with your parents; whether they enjoy it or not, it will not be a comfortable experience for you. But aside from that, this is a very entertaining movie. Sarah Michelle Gellar expands her range playing a bitchy sort of anti-Buffy. Ryan Phillipe's acting style, sometimes called soulless and cold, fits his (originally) heartless character perfectly, and he has good chemistry with Reese Witherspoon (small wonder, since they are now married), who does very well in the role of the proud virgin. Selma Blair is hilariously naive and ridiculous, and Joshua Jackson, in a rather brief role, steals the few scenes he's in. If you're looking for something in the teen genre but not so fluffy as the usual crop, and if you're not easily offended, check this movie out. The only reason I gave it less than 5 stars (I'd give it a 4.5 rather than a 4) is Sebastian's (Phillipe's) transformation from lascivious jerk to tender loverboy is a bit too sudden--the metamorphosis would have been more believable if it had been more gradual, but this is a minor point and doesn't really hurt the film in any way.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 6, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
It's probably better if you haven't seen Stephen Frears's Dangerous Liaisons (1989), starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer, or Milos Forman's Valmont (1988) with Annette Bening, Colin Firth and Meg Tilly. If you have, Roger Kumble's Cruel Intentions (1999), starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Reese Witherspoon, which is also based on the novel by the Frenchman Choderlos de Laclos, will seem to lack finesse. Kumble wrote his own screenplay as a kind of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in modern dress, whereas Frears and Forman relied more heavily upon the stage play by Christopher Hampton, depicting the aristocracy of 18th century France. While the two earlier movies sparkle with wit, insight and a cynicism to chill the fondest heart, Kumble's venture features a more prosaic brand of sexual humor adorned agreeably with young, nubile bodies.
But there is no need to make odious comparisons. Cruel Intentions can stand on its own, and there is plenty to admire, especially Gellar in a role to which she is perfectly suited, and Witherspoon as well. Phillippe is also good, especially when he's being funny, although his unconscious imitation of John Malkovich was a bit obsequious. He delivered some of his lines with the same deadpan expression and intonation. But being as pretty as he is, Phillippe's character is more like Colin Firth's. Selma Blair's narrow-eyed and dotty Cecile was pretty, sexy, and funnier than either Uma Thurman or Fairuza Balk, who played similar roles in the above mentioned movies, respectively.
The scene with the shrink to begin was very agreeable and should have been followed up somehow. We never see Sebastian quite so diabolical later on. Too bad.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 1999
Format: DVD
Don't ask any questions. Just buy this movie. It is one of the most entertaining, wickedly funny black comedies in film history. It's very dark, hilarious, and may even offend some people. But that is part of its magic. It challenges the viewer, but make no mistake about it: It is a great deal of fun...and evil. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays a role so different than "Buffy" you won't believe it's her. She is a villainous, bulemic, coke-snorting bitch. You'll love to hate her. Selma Blair is adorable as the nerd who becomes the target of Gellar's wrath. Ryan Phillipe is dead-on as Gellar's stepbrother who wants more than anything on earth to bed her. And Reese Witherspoon is amazing as a young virgin who Phillipe bets Gellar that he can seduce. A vicious story full of backstabbing and...cruel intentions, but at the same time has a very sweet side. The ending is shocking, completely unpredictable, with a twisted sense of humor that lasts all the way even to the end. The directing is perfect and even more the soundtrack is amazing. Buy this album. From the opening song Every You and Every Me to Bittersweet Symphony, it sets the tone for the movie perfectly. Also, this DVD is great. Even though the menu is kind of boring, it has some great extras, including music videos and documentaries which really give a great deal of insight to the making of this most unusual film. Also, the extra scenes, unlike some other DVDs which are kind of stupid, actually add to the film and make you wonder how it would have affected the film's ending differently if they were left in. You'll be shocked, but some of these scenes may have drastically changed the film and even the character development. This is one of the very best movies ever made and it is my favorite. Don't to buy this movie and watch it over and over and over and over and over and...over....over.....
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