What's a little harmless soft-core exploitation film such as "Havoc" (2005) among friends? Not much - unless it stars Anne Hathaway, you know, THAT Anne Hathaway, Ella-of-the-Enchanged-Forest Anne Hathaway. Then, it becomes a big deal. Without her, this independent (Media 8 Entertainment) effort by director Barbara Kopple ends up on late-night cable and then quickly is forgotten.
|Gangsters aren't so tough - they're just misunderstood. Uh huh.|
A pair of naive young girls (Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips) set their sights on East L.A. to see what all the fuss is about "gangstas" and hip-hop.
|Anne Hathaway gets in a number of sultry poses|
There, they meet a vicious Mexican drug dealer named Hector (Freddy Rodriguez) and Latino gang-bangers.
|Bijou Philips is good, but she's no Anne Hathaway|
Suddenly, it doesn't seem as glamorous to the girls as it had back home. They try to get out, but find that is not quite as easy to leave the barrio as it was to get in.
|Things start getting a little freaky in the Barrio|
The film was scripted by a 17-year-old girl (Jessica Kaplan) who sadly perished shortly thereafter. It is not bad for a 17-year-old.
Heck, she got the darn thing financed, just doing that alone puts her accomplishments above 99.944% of all the other screenwriters on earth. However, it also is obvious and heavy-handed, showing all the signs of a formulaic plot with a trite outcome.
|Anne Hathaway stretching her craft|
Naturally, the screenwriter felt she couldn't portray minorities in a negative light - why, that might be construed as (gasp!) racist or, like, something - so everybody in East L.A. is portrayed as being just super-wonderful and normal.
|Anne does a lot of acting with her body in "Havoc"|
Except, of course, that they are dealing crack and heroin. But they have to do that to survive, so it's OK! Really!
It's your standard "fish out of water" drama. It was done better back in 1985 in Martin Scorcese's obscure "After Hours" starring Griffin Dunne and Rosanna Arquette.
Here, in place of Soho, the creepy setting is East L.A., and instead of sexually deviant women cornering our hero, there are gang-bangers who look evil but have great haircuts. If forced to decide between the two scenarios myself, I'd probably go with the East L.A. gangbanger scenario.
|Anne Hathaway posing as sexily as she can|
Anne gets nude, or maybe it's her body double, who knows these days. She has simulated sex. That's about the most striking thing about this film. Is she all that? Not really, but you'll be the judge of that.
|Anne needs a tramp stamp|
She looks bored at all the wrong times in this film. If that doesn't turn you on (it doesn't me), may I suggest that you watch "After Hours" instead. You'll thank me.
Below is the trailer for "Havoc."