Movie News & Reviews

'The Informers': Making the '80s look laughable

Thanks to author Bret Easton Ellis, nobody can ever tell you "You had to be there" when talking about the '80s. Ellis lets us relive those halcyon days of cheap coke, Miami Vice fashions and the rise of AIDS. Occasionally, some fool gets the idea that his literary wretched excess would make for a good film.

The Informers is another Less Than Zero-style riff on those years, only this time it's a period piece. In Ellis' universe, the '80s were one big Love Shack. Everybody's grooving. Everybody's high. Everybody's bisexual.

Well, everybody who matters, namely the scion of the rich and studio-connected in L.A. Graham (Jon Foster) is caught up in this whirl. Graham has lots of sex with his girlfriend Christie (Amber Heard). Martin (Austin Nichols), who directs music videos, sleeps and snorts with them both. Graham's studio-exec dad (Billy Bob Thornton) is leaving his TV anchor girlfriend (Winona Ryder) to get back with Graham's drunken mom (Kim Basinger). No wonder this college boy is confused.

Graham confesses, "I need someone to tell me what is good and tell me what is bad."

Let's see: Coke? "Bad." Unprotected sex? "Bad."

It's a terrible muddle unless you take it as a satire on the Age of Ellis, the Jacqueline Susann for that Flock of Seagulls era. That way, the unintentional laughs seem almost ironic.

Director Gregor Jordan wallows in it all. The Aussie didn't exactly miss the '80s; he just missed out on them in L.A. Re-creating them for The Informers, he misses them again — by a mile.

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