Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2010 // 175 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Clark Douglas // October 12th, 2010
Good friends. Bad games.
I have to admit upfront that I've never really been able to enjoy those films and television shows about bitchy, thoroughly artificial teenagers engaging in superficial games of back-stabbing and betrayal. I know plenty of people who find great entertainment in programs like Gossip Girl and 90210 and...well, most CW shows. Personally, I find myself wanting to run into a brick wall to stop the agony after about 15 minutes. So, it was with no real pleasure that I endured Seven Deadly Sins, a three-hour marathon of gimmicky, glossy teenage melodrama.
The tale revolves around a young woman named Harper Grace (Dreama Walker, Gossip Girl), a high school student who lives in a town called...um, Grace. Yes, the town is named after her family. It seems that once upon a time, the Grace family owned just about everything in town, but these days all they have left is the local Laundromat. There's nothing Grace wants more than to graduate and go somewhere exciting; to free herself of the suffocating life her small town has to offer. Still, her existence is relatively pleasant in comparison to what's on the horizon.
One day, a young woman named Kaia (Rachel Melvin, Days of Our Lives) arrives in town. She's from New York, and she brings her scandalous New York values with her. Using her incredible good looks to devastating effect, Kaia embarks upon a mission of destruction, sleeping with boyfriends, seducing teachers, turning best friends against each other and generally causing all sorts of chaos. By the time she's done, Grace will be changed permanently.
I've seen countless number of ludicrous fictional characters, but Kaia has to be somewhere near the top of the pile. This girl is like no human being I've ever encountered; her actions seem less driven by any remotely recognizable human motivation than by the script's need to keep things spicy on a regular basis. For some inexplicable reason, she's on a quest to either engage in or encourage others to engage in each of the seven deadly sins (wrath, envy, pride, sloth, lust, gluttony and greed), and she provides us with preposterous narration as she continues her journey. "Lust rhymes with rust rhymes with bust," she says seductively. I couldn't help but laugh out loud. The rest of the narration is equally clumsy, as Kaia helpfully informs us which of the seven deadly sins we are witnessing at any given time (which only serves as a reminder of the film's extremely gimmicky set-up -- it goes without saying that Seven Deadly Sins is vastly less clever and intelligent than David Fincher's similarly-themed Se7en).
Kaia is easily the worst characterization Seven Deadly Sins has to offer, but that's not to imply that any of the others are actually good. The behavior demonstrated by the key players is stupid and irrational (even by hormonal teen standards). Time after time the characters will believe any lie they are told when presented with the thinnest of evidence; you'd think they would learn to check the authenticity of these suspect rumors after a while. The performances from the blandly attractive cast are underwhelming; most of the participants seem to have been cast for their looks rather than their acting abilities. For that matter, the whole affair seems paranoid of letting anyone remotely old or wrinkled appear on-screen; even the teachers and parents look barely a day over 30. Even if you enjoy this sort of thing, the painful level of artifice on display is likely to make you wince at least a little.
The DVD transfer is handsome enough, offering excellent detail and depth. The bright colors really pop and the darker scenes benefit from considerable clarity. Audio is equally solid, with the vapid pop soundtrack coming through with particular strength. There are no supplements of any sort on the disc.
Guilty of at least a few artistic sins.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 175 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated