on September 01, 2000 by Bridget Byrne
   Hostility between men and women is full-throttle in "Whipped," yet another dark comedy about modern-day dating habits. The plot's minor surprises and one major twist and the in-the-moment acting of the cast raises the film a tad above its overall level, which is slung pretty low. Some of the unpleasant moments are funny, some not, but it isn't realistic enough to have an impact and not stylish enough to be seductive even at its most amusing.

   Struggling to find new variations on the overworked theme of guys and girls dissing each other verbally, physically, in reality, imagination and dreams, it spares few vulgarities and makes the whole search-for-a-mate process seem so unappealing, unromantic, unsatisfying and ugly as to be pointless.

   Amanda Peet, with her minor-league Julia Roberts look, is an attractive target for if not the affections then the distorted desires of a trio of pretty stupid single men--a writer (Zorie Barber), a money broker (Brian Van Holt) and an actor (Jonathan Abrahams). Judah Domke is stuck with the role of their even more unfortunate pal who happens to be married. Peter Cohen's script has a very harsh viewpoint which his-in-your face direction only heightens, and there is little room left for any of the actors to find the nuances which might have made the movie more insightful despite its crass attitude.    Starring Amanda Peet, Brian Van Holt, Jonathan Abrahams, Zorie Barber and Judah Domke. Directed and written by Peter M. Cohen. Produced by Anthony Armetta and Taylor MacCrae. A Destination release. Comedy. Not yet rated. Running time: 85 min.

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