There's nothing more enticing than evil...especially when it's hiding behind a killer smile and draped in designer suits. Rob Lowe ("The West Wing") and James Spader (sex, lies and videotape) star in this "slyly seductive ... more »and thoroughly enjoyable thriller" (The Wall Street Journal) from director Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) and writer David Koepp (Spider-Man). Financial analyst Michael Boll (Spader) seems to have everything: brains, money, a socially connected fiancée and a blindingly bright future. Then he meets Alex (Lowe), an impeccably dressed drifter with fatal charm and an insatiable appetite for wine, women and danger. Alex befriends Michael and takes him for a walk on the wild sidebut Michael soon discovers that there's a terrible priceto pay for life in the fast lane, because hanging out with Alex...can be murder!« less
Elizabeth B. (bethieof96) from NINETY SIX, SC Reviewed on 6/28/2013...
Very good movie, good acting all around. It shows how you can mess up your life if you get involved with someone who has no moral values. 4 1/2 stars.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1990's *Bad Influence* provides the film-fan a chance to see what director Curtis Hanson and screenwriter David Koepp were capable of when they had to actually work for a living. (Later "success" for each has borne bitter fruit -- for the aforesaid film-fan, of course: Hanson now makes Eminem movies; Koepp just scripted *Spider-Man*. Enough said.) Hanson's previous film, *The Bedroom Window*, was mostly a by-the-numbers Hitchcock, albeit brilliant, with SHADES of novelist Patricia Highsmith's nastiness. . . . Here, Hanson & Co. veer directly into Highsmith's dark waters, and the result is just smashing. Of course it goes without saying that James Spader's "meek" corporate analyst is never all that innocent to begin with (just like any "hero" in a Highsmith novel, or in any film noir worth its pinch of salt); the fun is in watching HOW the layers of hypocrisy get stripped away, one by one. Hanson's ironical conceit is to have the movie's villain (Rob Lowe) proudly believe that HE'S the one responsible for the Yuppie's corruption. The movie's really about the tragedy of a psychopath. Lowe's wicked drifter is a pretty lonely guy, after all: he wants a friend! Women are his source of income, and can't be an option in terms of an intimate relationship. He meets the yuppie at a beach bar: Spader finds himself in trouble with a 900-lbs gorilla; Lowe extricates him from the trouble by threatening to cut the gorilla's throat with a jagged bottleneck. Of course, he also helps himself to Spader's unattended wallet . . . but once Spader runs into him the next day, Lowe allows himself to befriend the yuppie. With a sort of proud-father generosity, he initiates Spader into the world of L.A.'s underground bars, designer drugs, and decadent call girls. It eventually degenerates into a spree of cheap thrills that include hold-ups of the local burger joints and liquor stores. Hey -- it's Boys Night Out! What's the use of a life, even a criminal one, without no one to share it with? Unfortunately, All Good Things Must Come To An End: Lowe overreaches, and the blood-brothers become antagonists. After the bitter break-up, Lowe behaves petulantly, appropriating Spader's home furnishings like a divorcee in a bitter lawsuit. It's all great, campy fun, with the added bonus of some real menace -- and generous whiffs of decadence from the deepest pits -- thrown in to keep you riveted. The movie's centerpiece is the videotaped murder of a woman: the tape shows the murder occurring off-camera in Spader's bedroom. Horrified, Spader runs to his bedroom . . . to find the door nailed shut! This may be the only case in a movie of suspense being generated by something that has ALREADY HAPPENED. Ingenious! Final thought: I'd wager that aspiring novelist Chuck Paluhnik (sp?) caught this movie one night on HBO or something years ago and was subsequently inspired to write *Fight Club*, a novel (and, later, movie) whose parasitic-friendship theme is suspiciously similar to what's presented here. Bad influence, indeed."
How "LOWE" Can One Go?
Hillary | Brooklyn, New York | 03/21/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"James Spader finds out, as his "Michael Boll" meets a unexpectedly dangerous stranger, played by a convincingly sinister Rob Lowe, in this Curtis Hanson outing. ............ Michael is a young, handsome 9-5 sort of guy. His life is dominated by his fiance, played by Marcia Cross. He is also being backstabbed by a co-worker named Patterson, who Michael is too meek to stop. He is also saddled with a deadbeat brother who mocks his "Yuppie" lifestyle, while reaping the financial benefits. Life changes as Michael goes from meek, to "Mick" after tutelage from a mysterious stranger that saves him from a decking in a bar, enter Rob Lowe in his finest role to date. Spader's Michael is impressed by Lowe from the start. A friendship forms as Lowe takes an interest in Michael, introducing him to underground clubs, loose women, drugs, drink, and general depravity. He seems at first to be fun, and a breath of fresh air from the oppression he's been living under. As time goes on though, the picture gets more complicated. Lowe slowly reveals himself to be twisted and dangerous. Unfortunately for "Mick", (as Lowe re-names his protege), he is in way over his head, and may not be able to escape Lowe's inexplicably sadistic, increasing wrath toward him. ................ Spader and Lowe give wonderful performances here. I make a point of seeing ALL films with Spader, because he is one of my favorite actors. He plays the hapless victim here so soft and sympathetically, until he takes action, as Lowe has mentored him to do. Lowe creates a terrific noir mood with his character. His menacing escalates to a feverish pitch, and this will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting for the outcome. ............. Speaking of the outcome, it's a bit too convoluted, and probably the only flaw in the film. Michael's paranoid pothead brother, "Pismo" as in beach, or "Gizmo" as in "Gremlins" (I'm not sure), helps Michael in his quest to put an end to Lowes cruel games. The dude can't abandon his bong long enough to get a job, and he's too paranoid to leave the house, yet he's a darn good sidekick in the fight against evil, PLEASE!! Still, "Bad Influence" is one great suspense thriller that will keep your interest from start to finish. Don't miss this exciting entry in the extensive filmographies of Spader and Lowe."
JOSE TOLEDO | KEY WEST, FL United States | 06/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A movie that keeps you in suspense from it's very beginning deserves to be calle "excellent" Rob Lowe's magnificent performance as a charismatic player is so convincing you may notice at the end that you have not even moved while watching it... James Spader's roll as a decent hard working proffesional who innocently finds himself, suddenly involved in a homicide case, is terrific as well. Love, sex, passion, hate...and even murder are perfectly combined in this movie...Highly reccomended..."
Great movie but short features
Otto Yuen | Toronto, ON Canada | 05/28/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Check out friends around you, you may end up with a psycho like Alex (played by Rob Lowe). What he does in the movie is quite impressive and psychotic, especially a dirty trick like breaking a tail light and pulling the broken bulb into a fuel tank. If you hit the brake pedal, OOPS! In general, I like the story, I like the casting. Very good performance from both James Spader (as Michael) and Rob Lowe (as Alex). Does Alex do it on purpose to screw up Michael's life? I don't think so. Alex gives Michael what he wants (gals, job promotion), Alex eliminates what Michael's afraid of (getting married). But Michael pisses Alex off and wants him out of his life. Of course Alex rampages, revenges, and takes back everything he gave to Michael. I don't find the movie is too exaggerated; in contrast, I'm convinced that it could happen to anyone of us anytime anywhere. Who knows?About the DVD, it's a double-sided disc. One side is the 16:9 widescreen format, and the other side is the standard 4:3 format. Quite obvious, it is lacking of extra features. It only comes with subtitles and theatrical trailer. Overall, movie is good but features are short."
Charles Burgess | sunny FL | 12/06/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hadn't seen the film for some ten years before it arrived on DVD. A decade makes me even more appreciate Spader's work as Michael Boll. His character is a most convincing utter corporate dork who struggles to free himself of his devils then aftwards free himself of his 'savior.' Lowe too is great in his villain's role also though his character is perhaps overly cute/pretty at times - yet convincingly threatening when required. Good to see Christian Clemenson in *any* capacity. Oh, Lisa Zane: suits please note she needs more time before a camera! (Notice how the couples who stumble into the plot - the pier bar, the garage - are screaming about their relationships?) Enjoy."