Stonebrook (PG-13) 1998
Reviewer’s Tilt (7)
Special DVD Features worth a look-None
I wish I could remember who recommended this movie to me so I could convene an intervention of friends to make sure they never recommend another movie to anyone . . . ever. Stonebrook starts out well enough, with farmhand Erik (Brad Rowe) getting a scholarship to the Ivy League Stonebrook through a family friend. Although Erik’s roommate is an enigmatic rich kid named Cornelius (Seth Green), the two become friends.
When Erik’s scholarship falls through due to a technicality, Cornelius sees this as an opportunity to help his friend and execute some of the self-concocted con games he never had the guts to execute. The con games work well until the two cross paths with local small-time crime boss Alexander Tali (Stanley Kamel) and the law. Stonebrook attempts to tell a story of fortune, downfall and redemption in a “Usual Suspects” type format. Unfortunately, neither the story, nor the acting comes close to that seminal work.
While plot twists are the mark of the genre, these characters go from being upstanding honest citizens one minute, to adroit con men the next, then back to being the model of morality. While I realize people change, in this movie the bad guy is the only one of the characters that does not go through two lifetimes of catharses in a matter of months. I am thankful, however, that Director Byron Thompson mercifully combined the wild characters swings, the trite dialogue, the bad acting and the ridiculous plot twists into only 89 minutes, and did not insist on providing any “extras” on the DVD. At least he has some empathy for his audience.
Format: Color, Widescreen anamorphic, Closed captioned.
Sound: (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)