In a college film class, “Fascination” would represent stellar work. As a network movie of the week, the film would be derided by the critical community as just another pathetic fleshy love story. As a feature film, “Fascination” is simply laughable – and in fact, at various points during the critical screening, the audience did in fact laugh outright at its over-dramatized, maudlin script and its incredibly sophomoric plotting.
The only thing fascinating about this film is the casting of Jacqueline Bisset; how the hell did they talk her into participating in this trash?
The film opens with a startlingly obvious sequence that sets the stage for how hideously boring the rest of the film is about to be: a wealthy businessman played by James Naughton rises on a pleasant Floridian morning, pops his high blood pressure pills, and goes for a swim. His wife, played by Bisset, watches with a stony expression from the shadows, lighting up a cigarette mysteriously as she witnesses him hit the rocks and never resurface. Hmm. Do ya think maybe she had something to do with his untimely death?
Duh. The rest of the plot unfolds predictably, with Bisset’s character throwing a new man (Stuart Wilson) into her bed faster than you can say, “I wonder what’s playing in Theatre 10.” He totes along a child-temptress with no tits (Alice Evans) who falls in love with the dead guy’s son, played by Australian actor Adam Garcia. Oh I get it. We made this movie so that we could show Garcia running around in various states of undress in between sessions of hot sex with his would-be girlfriend who is invariably mixed up in the turgid espionage that surrounds this avant garde family living in a millionaire’s mansion on the beach. Perhaps they should have simply marketed this thing as soft-porn.
Writers John Jacobs and Daryl Haney should probably stick to books authored by “Anonymous.” And director Klaus Menzel should go back to television, where his lack of creativity fits right in. Garcia should be seen, and not heard… and for her part, Bisset simply needs a new agent, preferably one who can read English.
It’s unusual for a film to be lauded as “the best” or criticized as “the worst” early in a calendar year, and then to hold onto that distinction for a full twelve months. This picture might have a shot: it’s easily the worst film of 2005 thus far, and I’ll be surprised if on December 31st I’ve found another picture that usurps the title.