Mini's First Time
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Mini's First Time (DVD)
Alec Baldwin is Martin, the wealthy, clueless stepfather of Mini (played by Nikki Reed). She's clever and has a healthy libido. And she's on a mission to stir up as much trouble as she can before her high school graduation. It's pretty clear where Mini got her conniving streak from-her mom (Carrie-Anne Moss) who spends more time partying than with her husband. Diana quickly becomes the third wheel when Martin and Mini's relationship escalates. A series of disturbing events at their posh modern house finally prompts the arrival of John (Luke Wilson) as a nosey detective on the case. Jeff Goldblum delivers another shot of star quality playing the cheesy TV show host who lives next door. Part Heather and part Lolita, Mini's a girl to watch out for in this delightfully warped comedy.]]>
A nymphet with a grudge is usually a promising combination for a thriller, and Mini's First Time lays on the Lolita complex in the capable person of Thirteen star Nikki Reed. Having been a bad girl at a tender age in that one, Reed plays a slightly older but even more dangerous teen in Mini, as the lethal daughter of a wannabe Hollywood actress (Carrie-Anne Moss) who never was. Joining the ranks of professional escorts while still in high school, Mini has an unsavory "meet cute" with her future partner in crime: answering a call at a hotel, she sleeps with her surprised stepfather (Alec Baldwin). Pretty soon the odd couple is cooking up ways of getting the mother out of the picture--first by psychological war, then by, well, more extreme measures. Director Nick Guthe tries to draw out the Hollywood satire as well as the modern-noir elements, but the tone is too glib for the mix to sit well, and there isn't quite enough happening on either front for the movie to gain real traction. However, this HBO-produced picture does present a handful of delicious performances, led by Baldwin's marvelous portrait of a self-disgusted middle-aged man who might actually have fallen in love... the poor sap. Moss is a revelation in a comic role (she does an expert drunk act) and Jeff Goldblum contributes his uniquely discursive muttering to a few scenes. Luke Wilson plays a police detective so droll and laid-back he seems to have wandered in from a Wes Anderson film, or possibly an old episode of Columbo. --Robert Horton
- Commentary by writer/director Nick Guthe
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It also makes me wonder what people are thinking when they call sociopathic characters "one-dimensional" or "unrealistic". Do they really miss the point that badly? Do they not understand how sociopathy works?
For that matter I can't understand how they expect the other characters to have any more depth. When you've got a sociopath for a hero everyone else needs a flaw so thoroughly despicable that the sociopath seems at least vaguely justified. That doesn't inherently preclude depth, but it means you need a lot of screen time to show us anything other than your overwhelming flaw.
In any case, it's worth watching, in spite of the mixed reviews. It's predictable much sooner than it plays out, but that's unavoidable if we still want to relate to the sociopath at the end; they can't be utterly evil until the last 3 minutes, and this movie takes us right there. It's perhaps not the most brilliant piece in the history of cinema, but it hits is mark, and provides plenty of titillation and other entertainment on the trip.
I'm convinced most of those who didn't like it were unwilling or unable to buy into the concept -- if you do I'll bet that it willl make you want to be a better sociopath too.