Judge David Johnson has never been asked to participate in a scheme of seduction and betrayal. Not once.
Bad girls just want to have fun.
In 1998 a little bit of noir sleaze introduced filmgoers to the wiles of Neve Campbell and the breasts of Denise Richards. Two sequels later and we've got the third installment in the guilty pleasure franchise. Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough proves to be faithful to the formula—nudity + double-crosses + more nudity—but does it equal a worthwhile trip back to the Everglades?
Facts of the Case
Nubile young Marie (Sarah Laine) is obsessed with attaining the inheritance that her mom left her: two huge diamonds worth millions. But her sleazy stepfather stands in the way. Jay Clifton (Brad Johnson) wants the diamonds as much as his step-daughter, though she's proven to be even more valuable as a vehicle for meeting horny teenagers. One such teenaged bombshell is trailer trash Elena (Sandra McCoy), at first blush an enemy of Marie's. The two collide in an all-out pool brawl at Elena's 18th birthday party. Jay breaks up the fight, ends the party, then "consoles" Elena.
And suddenly Jay is in handcuffs, arrested for raping Elena. Detectives Richards (Dina Meyer, Starship Troopers) and Morrison (Linden Ashby, Mortal Kombat) begin the investigation into what is an undeniably shady situation. Sure enough, events unfold that reveal allegiances, betrayals, back-stabbings, and, of course, the obligatory threesome scene—and in the middle of it all, those two big-ass diamonds.
Judging by the standards of Wild Things movies, this third entry is a worthy submission. Although originality is scarce, and elements from the original, down to the characters themselves, are lifted without apology, I predict that there will not be an abundance of complaints from the target audience of this movie.
Renter of Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough: "Oh no, not another threesome scene!"
Our Wild Things this go-round are played by Sarah Laine and Sandra McCoy. Laine's Marie is the Denise Richards character, and is written pretty much spot-on like her forerunner: She's attractive (and actually kind of looks like Denise Richards), young, rich, horny, and can often be found soaking wet or climbing out of a pool. In fact, Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough must now own the world record for "Most Slow-Motion Exits from a Pool" in a movie. McCoy's Elena apes Neve Campbell's white-trash Suzie, trailer and all. Plus she has her own airboat to cruise the swamps for no apparent reason. Ron Melendez plays one of the shady male conspirators, but he's a far cry from Matt Dillon.
With our cast of characters in play, all that's left is for the sleaze to be unleashed and the necessary plot twists to occur. In the T&A department, Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough lays it on thick. If there's a chance to slip in some skin, director Jay Lowi delivers. The majority of the heavy lifting in the nudity department falls to Laine, as Marie is consistently walking around braless in a wet t-shirt or making out with McCoy. The centerpiece is of course the threesome where everyone gets down and dirty (with possible participation of some body doubles).
So they've got their bases covered with the trashiness; how about the plot? The story here is serviceable, and stocked with lots of twists and double-crosses. Unfortunately, once the dust settles, plot holes the size of Kansas will materialize and cheapen the noir effect. I won't get into any spoilers, but many of the characters' actions are of the head-scratching nature. Still, it's all very amusing, and I can confidently say that while this third film lacks much of the narrative punch of the first, it is a worthy entry in the series.
The film also looks great. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is sharp. The sweaty colors of southern Florida are richly portrayed (those bikinis really jump off the screen—among other things). The sound comes courtesy of a fairly subdued Dolby Digital 5.1 track, but it matches the tone of the movie well. The special features must have been eaten by an alligator.
All the ingredients are here: nubile young women giving each other tongue baths, sleazy guys horning in on the action, lots of money up for grabs, and a slew of betrayals. Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough does nothing different with the formula, but it doesn't try to either.
Not guilty, though the court would ask that subsequent films try to mix it up a bit. Maybe a twelvesome?
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