Kiss the Girls | Chicago Reader

Kiss the Girls

Misguided attempts at political correctness make this serial-killer movie stupid instead of just dull. In trying to dispense with much of the criminal's point of view during the opening credit sequence so they can focus on Ashley Judd, an abductee who escapes, the filmmakers may be hoping to evade the accusation that they're glamorizing the sadistic treatment of women. But this and other dodges only make clear that the writer and director have no real interest in the characters or the story—they're just feigning feminism while cashing in. The several kidnapped women held in a dungeon in North Carolina represent a sort of Miss America pageant: the victims are not only beautiful—and ethnically varied, as forensic detective Morgan Freeman, the uncle of one of them, observes—but they participate in a talent competition too. Judd's a skilled kickboxer and a competent yet emotional surgeon—and she can cook; Freeman's niece is a gifted violinist. Jeremy Piven is around to show what happens to men who think they can talk to women about sports, and Cary Elwes and Alex McArthur just underscore this movie's worthlessness by evoking the far more interesting thrillers they've been in. Gary Fleder directed a screenplay by David Klass based on the novel by James Patterson.

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