on May 10, 1996 by Wade Major
Writer/director Stacey Cochran's follow-up to her impressive 1992 debut film "My New Gun" is a dreadful disappointment of epic proportions. The inexplicably titled "Boys" meanders tediously through its scant 87 minutes like a slug through snow, unsuccessfully endeavoring to extract a modicum of drama from a scenario that scarcely even resembles a story. Gen-X poster girl Patty Vare (Winona Ryder) takes a spill from her horse, only to wake up in the dorm room of her unlikely rescuer: prep school rebel John Baker (Lukas Haas) who, for reasons not entirely clear, never really considered calling an ambulance.
After what seems like an eternity of Baker trying to keep his dormmates from finding out that he has a girl in his room, the two youths naturally head out to the carnival where they consummate their half-day-old relationship and talk about nothing in particular. Flashbacks and a thinly conceived subplot slowly reconstruct what appears to be some recent event that's horrifically traumatic even in Patty's life--presumably the reason she acts so angst-ridden one minute and so happy the next. But when the big "mystery" is finally resolved, it proves far less surprising than the fact that Haas, Ryder and Cochran would all even consider such a project in the first place. Based on an eight-page James Salter short story entitled "20 Minutes" (a more appropriate length for the film), "Boys" posits itself as a kind of Gen-X "Rebel Without a Cause," doing the original concept one better by also being a "movie without a plot." Stilted teenage dialogue (Hey, dude!) and an abject lack of rational motivation on the part of even the most seemingly sensible characters merely add insult to injury. Starring Winona Ryder, Lukas Haas. Written and directed by Stacy Cochran. Produced by Peter Frankfurt, Paul Feldsher and Erica Huggins. A Buena Vista release. Romantic drama. Rated PG-13 for language, some sexuality, and drug content. Running time: 87 min
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