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Threesome sells substance for cheap thrills

Threesome

Starring Josh Charles, Stephen Baldwin, and Lara Flynn Boyle.

Written and Directed by Andrew Fleming.

Loews Harvard Square.

By Patrick Mahoney
Staff Reporter

Threesome tries to be about college life, but falls far short of its mark. It is funny at times, but the bits of humor can't save the film from a bad script, misguided focus, and mediocre direction.

Instead of giving a glimpse of college life, Threesome focuses on the sex lives of its three main characters. In fact, most of the film is spent on the introspection of one homosexual student who tries to discover himself. Nearly everything is seen through the eyes of Eddy (Josh Charles) or in light of his experiences. We follow him as he tries to form his ideas about life and sex. Essentially, he is the main character and the rest of the cast are mere tools for his development. The film would have needed to focus on some aspects other than the sexual attraction between main characters in order to be about the students themselves. Threesome is more of a look into sexuality than the lives of college students.

Though writer Andrew Fleming explores the relationships between men and women, he resorts to a contrived circumstance to do it. Alex (Lara Flynn Boyle) ends up in a suite with two male roommates. This fiasco appears to have occurred because of some mix up by the administration and would apparently take months to sort out. This isn't the most plausible of circumstances. Though possible, perhaps, such a big deal is made out of it at the beginning of the film that it detracts from details more worthy of attention, like initial impressions of the characters. If Fleming had just put them all in the suite, left it at that and moved on, the effect would have been nearly the same and the initial distraction could have been avoided.

The film is very graphic, and Fleming does not shy away from using nudity. Since it's targeted at college students nudity may be a good selling point, but it was used too frequently solely for its own sake. Only some of the sex scenes added anything to the movie, and even fewer could be considered important.

Both of the leading actors are good. Stewart (Stephen Baldwin) portrays the stereotypical misogynist college male perfectly, providing stark contrast to Eddy, who is a quiet, intellectual, "sexually ambivalent" male. The traits of each of the two are accentuated by the other, and we see how different the two really are.

Boyle, however, is far more entertaining than either Baldwin or Charles. Even when it becomes clear that Eddy is not interested in her, she continues to pursue him relentlessly because in her eyes, he doesn't know what he wants - "he's confused." Boyle's performance is extremely enjoyable, blending a little bit of quiet and shy with a lot of wild and crazy.

Despite its flaws, Threesome is not a complete disaster. It does provide a revealing look into someone tying to sort out his sexuality. We watch Eddy as he struggles to determine who he is and what he cares about. Perhaps if Fleming had concentrated on this aspect, he would have made a more appealing film.