New Best Friend

Does anybody remember The In Crowd? What about Gossip? Well, here comes New Best Friend, another instantly forgettable movie. The studio forgot apparently forgot about it for three years, as it just sat on the shelf gathering dust. The worst aspect of this movie is that two women are responsible for it. Director Zoe Clarke-Williams (Deep Freeze Girls, When Autumn Leaves) and writer Victoria Strouse combine to make a movie that belongs on either late night cable or the direct-to-video shelf. Heck, they even throw in generous amounts of lesbo action and a catfight. Almost everything happens in flashback, with local Sheriff Artie Bonner (Taye Diggs, The Way of the Gun, The House on Haunted Hill) investigates the overdose of local college girl Alicia Glazer (Mia Kirshner, Not Another Teen Movie, According to Spencer).

Alicia is the smart girl with aspirations, which means she is ugly. She is ugly because she wears no makeup and has messy hair, but Rachel Leigh Cook her up a little and she looks like a goddess. A class assignment pairs her with Hadley Watson (Meredith Monroe, Full Ride, Fallen Arches), one of the spoiled rich girls. Together with her friends Sydney (Dominique Swain, Mean People Suck, Tart) and Julianne (Rachel True, Groove, Love Song) wear expensive clothes, party, drink, and do drugs. They are the prime suspects, since Alicia's behavior changed drastically once she began hanging out with them, and she happened to overdose in their bathroom.

As Bonner interviews various people, they tell their stories and the flashbacks reveal what really happened. Think of it as Rashomon, except there are no Japanese people, there is one viewpoint instead of many, and this movie royally sucks. Clarke-Williams clumsily tries to throw red herrings as to what really happened, but it never works. Hadley, Sydney, and Julianne try to discredit Alicia's good girl image. They insist she was really trying to insinuate herself into their lives for her own benefit. She was after Trevor (Scott Bairstow, Semper Fi, Dead in the Water), Hadley's boyfriend.

New Best Friend doesn't work because none of the actors seem fully there. Diggs, who can be extremely charismatic, looks bored. Monroe and Kirshner both look detached, and in the end, it doesn't matter who the Alicia character really is. The only reason Swain seems to be in the movie is to bare her breasts. It may make sense that Alicia is in awe of the ease that Hadley and her friend have in terms of money, but it doesn't make sense that she succumbs to temptation so quickly. As the movie progresses, Alicia wants to party more, and Hadley wants to study more. Ho hum. By the end, it's clear that the Alicia character may be a little shadier than she initially appears, but so what?

Haro Rates It: Really Bad.
1 hour, 30 minutes, Rated R for strong sexuality, language, and drug use.

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