3 Young Talents Wasted in Awful 'Boys'

Article excerpt

Byline: P.S. Colbert Daily Herald Correspondent

"Boys"

* Produced by Peter Frankfurt, Paul Feldsher and Erica Huggins. Written and directed by Stacy Cochran. A Touchstone Pictures Release. Rated PG-13.

Cast:

Patty Vare ...............Winona Ryder

Baker ........................... Lukas Haas

Bud Valentine ..........Skeet Ulrich

Fenton......................James LeGros

with John C. Reilly and Jessica Harper

"Sometimes I feel like I woke up with my dial on the wrong channel," troubled teen Baker (Lukas Haas) confesses to his newly-acquired girlfriend Patty Vare (Winona Ryder).

"I feel like that everyday," she replies mournfully.

Believe it or not, that's the cleverest, most coherent exchange of words in "Boys," where the dialogue doesn't flow so much as congeal like cold bacon grease.

You'll have to forgive the title characters, a group of prep school prisoners exiled from the outside world existing on a steady diet of pot, potato chips and ear-splitting rock music.

What's more, Patty can reasonably attribute her dimwittedness to a history of binge drinking, pill popping and a recent injury sustained after being thrown from a horse.

A purely cinematic malady, the wound leaves no ugly bump or telltale blood, but causes its victim to flashback to the night before, which is of interest to Kellog (John C. Reilly) the bumbling local cop.

He's investigating a missing automobile, presumably stolen from a nearby tavern, which may or may not coincide with the disappearance of baseball superstar Bud Valentine (Skeet Ulrich). …