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3.8 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Emmy Rossum (Shameless), Zach Gilford (TV's Friday Night Lights) and Ashley Springer (Teeth) head up a stellar cast including Ana Gasteyer (Mean Girls), Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), comedienne Sandra Bernhard (TV's Roseanne) and Alan Cumming (X2: X-Men United) in this captivating story of high school seniors at the crossroads of their adult lives. When a pompous actor tells good girl Alexa (Rossum) that she hasn't lived, she embarks on a bold journey that takes her to mysterious bad boy Johnny (Gilford). Envious, her shy best friend Ben (Springer) also dares to pursue Johnny, complicating Alexa's romance and pushing the boundaries among the three friends.


With empathy, low-key humor, and discreet sexual suggestiveness, Adam Salky expands his 2005 short into a critical look at the way stereotypes can define--and confine--teenagers. While working on a senior-class production of A Streetcar Named Desire, three "types" collide: the good girl, the best friend, and the bad boy. Party girl Courtney (Rooney Mara) serves as the glue that binds the unlikely trio. Her studious friend, Alexa (The Phantom of the Opera's Emmy Rossum), doesn't think rich boy Johnny (Zach Gilford) takes things seriously enough. Alexa's other friend, the sexually ambiguous Ben (Teeth's Ashley Springer) supports her at the expense of his own needs, but their roles shift after theater actor Grant Matson (Alan Cumming in a too-short cameo) observes a rehearsal and praises Johnny's naturalism at the expense of Alexa's stiffness (Ben works the lights). The virginal Alexa decides to take Grant's advice to live a little, even seducing Johnny at a party. Their newfound closeness strains her relationship with Ben until he acts on a similar impulse, confusing the increasingly vulnerable Johnny further. The speed with which the central characters change doesn't always ring true, but the cast, including Ana Gasteyer as Ben's mother and Sandra Bernhard as Johnny's therapist, invests a schematic scenario with believability. Gilford, in particular, shines in his first significant part since nice-guy quarterback Matt Saracen on NBC's Friday Night Lights. Fans of Pretty in Pink and Cruel Intentions, to which Dare bears some comparison, should find Salky's first feature of particular interest. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Commentary with Director Adam Salky and Writer David Brind
  • "Dare" Original Short Film
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Emmy Rossum's Audition
  • Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Emmy Rossum, Rooney Mara, Zach Gilford, Alan Cumming
    • Directors: Adam Salky
    • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
    • DVD Release Date: February 9, 2010
    • Run Time: 91 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B002XUBDRO
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,726 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Dare" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Bob Drake VINE VOICE on February 27, 2010
    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    Not since Threesome (1994), which born-again Stephen Baldwin has since disowned, has there been such a daring coupling of two men and one woman on screen. The tagline of that earlier film, "One girl. Two guys. Three possibilities," might have been adopted for Dare as well. The elephant in the room is the excellent Dare (2005) short included on the Blu-ray disc. While the swimming pool "dare" scene that is most of the short also appears in the new film, it has been truncated for no obvious reason, and it is not one of the deleted scenes. The new film also suffers by comparison because the chemistry between Johnny and Ben seems stronger in the short.

    The new film is really not a gay film anymore. Alexa, who is peripheral to the short, drives the new film from the opening frames. Johnny's backstory of a distant father and a youthful stepmother certainly explains his vulnerability, but his friends are not privy to the same personal details the audience sees, and that sets up the somewhat unsatisfactory, though perhaps realistic, ending. Threesome, based on the college experiences of the director, was shot with an alternative ending that appeared on the 2001 release (unlike some male-male scenes that were cut and never seen) which also had problems. How do you resolve any threesome satisfactorily? We never learn how Johnny vanquished his personal demons except to see the sign on the door he enters in the last frames.

    Threesome has about the same rating as this film overall, but has more five-star votes than otherwise. I would recommend Threesome over Dare, but the Dare short is a keeper and film comes very close as well.
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    Format: DVD
    There is an accepted lie that is told by Hollywood teen films: That everyone falls into types. The Geeky guy, the Jock, the hanger on, the bookish girl, the slutty girl, etc. as reliable as the characters tropes in a WWII men on a mission film. You know what you are getting, and everyone fulfills their roles in the formula. And its a winning formula every time From "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", to "The Breakfast Club", even lesser fare like "Bring it On" make this work. And its a fun fantasy.

    DARE exists in the Twilight Zone of those films. We start in the very familiar teen film world Soccer Star; Stage Crew nerd; Star Student, and act by act, character by character deconstruct it all until we are left with three very real and very vulnerable teens who are in over their heads. It doesn't matter if you were like the one of the characters (and chances are you were) someone you know was.

    Emmy Rossum shrugs off her Hollywood training and digs deep for all that is good and ugly about her character Alexa. No one who sees her here will forget her transformation from blushing wall flower to would be seductress. Nor will they forget her face in the final scene when she realizes she isn't really either of those things.

    Ashley Springer takes a difficult role and humanizes it - taking the "gay best friend" out of the glib pigeon hole that Sex and the City put him in, and makes him real. He will make you wonder about Ducky.

    Zach Gilford as the Jock will surprise anyone who hasn't been watching Friday Night Lights. He turns in an eye opening performance and by the end you will be feeling every last moment with him. I saw this film at Sundance and the crowd there fell for him.
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    Format: DVD
    With its high school setting and the evocative title "Dare," I was prepared for this film to be either a standard teenage romp or perhaps a cautionary tale about alienated youth causing mischief. In fact, it is a rather sensitively wrought tale of conflicted emotions and youth struggling for identity. Blurring lines between sex and friendship, "Dare" introduces a somewhat accidental threesome that is as intriguing as it is believable. This non-traditional bond is purely unintentional with each party seeking something from the relationship that will never be fully realized. Earnest, and even heartbreaking, the film grows more disturbing as it progresses--with the teens both liberating one another while causing emotional damage.

    The film is split into three parts--one to represent each of the young protagonists. Emmy Rossum effectively plays an overachiever who doesn't quite click with the popular crowd. When paired for an assignment with rebel jock Zach Gilford, she takes this as a chance to challenge the good girl expectations placed on her by advancing a sexual liaison with him. Her best guy pal, Ashley Springer, is struggling with his own sexual identity--he's both jealous of the new couple and wanting some alone time with Gilford as well. And Gilford, for his part, is much more troubled and complex than he seems and simply yearns for the closeness and normalcy of having real friends. Soon something rather illicit is happening--but with all the conflicting expectations, it seems a recipe for disaster.

    All of the performances are terrific. Springer and Rossum capture the push/pull dynamic of a close friendship. Ana Gasteyer has a pivotal and effective role as Springer's mother, and Rooney Mara, Sandra Bernhard, and Alan Cumming lend able support.
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