Friday, July 29, 2011

Do You Wanna Know a Secret? Review

And The Story Goes...
A group of college kids, including multi-talented Joey "Whoa*" Lawrence, head to Florida for a luxurious spring break vacation. They soon find out that all is not well as acquaintances and friends begin to die by the hand of a mysterious masked killer. It is up to a Reese Witherspoon look-alike and her friends to find out who the killer is, and to stop him before it's too late.

The typical attire of a girl on spring break at 9 in the mo'nin
My Thoughts
The secret is that there are no real scares, blood, boobs or inventive stories involved in Do You Wanna Know a Secret?. Whoa!*

In my review for Dead Above Ground I had mentioned that it was a 'by the numbers' film...and I stand by that statement! As it turns out Do You Wanna Know a Secret? is by all accounts a by the numbers movie to the tenth power. On IMDB this is listed as a horror, thriller and mystery, though if you've seen more than one typical late 90s/early 2000s teen horror flick, then you will probably have 'the secret' figured out in 7 minutes 41 seconds ± 2. Luckily for me, my tolerance for what many would consider to be painfully terrible cinema is fairly high.

After learning the plot of Do You Wanna Know a Secret?, and seeing how 'want to' is spelled, it should come as no surprise that actors who could actually provide solid performances more than likely avoided this project like the plague. In fact, J-Dogg Lawrence (as he's known on the streets) is the best part of this movie. Indeed, the grown up version of the Blossom heartthrob appears to be a Laurence Olivier-esque thespian when compared to the remaining 'actors' (or as I like to call them 'the warm bodies reading lines').

Unimportant character. She doesn't have money,
but man does she want a taco!
(fuzziness is from the movie)
Let's talk death scenes for a moment. They are far and few, and tame even by 1950s standards. Some characters just don't show up for a while, and we learn later that they were screen. Personally I don't get a hard-on for huge amounts of gore, but I believe that if you intend to make a stereotypical teen slasher film, then by George you need to give the people what they want! I'd like to give a little note to the filmmakers: cutting necks isn't the only way to kill people!

In essence the story line, acting, editing, death scenes, characters and even the score are all average or below average.

Now, I'm sure that you're asking 'but Mr. Inimitable®, isn't there anything redeeming about this movie.' Well, seeing Joey Lawrence play the tough guy is pretty entertaining. I haven't seen such devastating whirling roundhouse kicks since the era of Norris in such classics as Lone Wolf Mcquade and The Octagon. At first glance Joey may appear to be your typical aging teen idol desperately clinging to the fame that he once knew, but I can guarantee you that this ex-Tiger Beat regular is all business.

Joey Norris....I mean Lawrence
Another great character is Oz, who, in keeping with the tradition of Blacula, Blackenstein, and  The Bleature Blom the Black Blagoon, I would like to call Blercules (black Hercules, for those of you who can't put 2 and 2 together), but in the spirit of political correctness I will simply refer to him as the nondescript gent who isn't Joey Lawrence or the killer, or better yet - Oz. This guy is huge, and you would think that might come in handy at some point. However, as the movie progresses, he grows geekier and geekier until he is barely a step above Steve Urkel. At one point the battle between this giant and the killer, who is of average height, build and intelligence, is so one sided that it's laughable. As my grandpa would always say 'you can't judge a book by its cover...even if the cover is on steroids.' I always wondered what in the hell he was talking about. Now I know.

Jeff Conaway (R.I.P), of Taxi and Grease fame plays a troubled detective...or FBI agent...or a person in some position of authority ( I admit that I just don't feel like rewatching it to find out his exact title because it really isn't that important). Unlike Joey, you can see that Signor Conaway doesn't really have an interest in playing in Do You Wanna Know a Secret?, and he is just going through the motions for his paycheck. I can't say that I blame him. It would be sad having a once (semi)promising career, and now you are stuck playing with actors who deliver lines with the subtlety of an atom bomb in time square - I'm looking in your direction Leonora Scelfo.

Now I'd like to bear my soul to you for a moment. I don't know what the killer's problem is, and I've actually lost sleep over this because the secret isn't really a secret. The secret is pretty mundain, and it's surprising that the movie makers actually believed that it would require an entire feature length production to:

1. Create a strong desire within the audience to learn what the secret is (something that never happens)
2. Have the characters develop a strong desire to learn what the secret is (I don't think that they even care)
3. Have the secret revealed and resolved (by this point nobody cares anymore because those who managed to stay awake are probably thinking about how they could have watched Scream 3, Gigli, or anything on the food network instead of Do You Wanna Know a Secret?!)

This entire story could have been told in roughly 15 minutes, or 20 minutes if Andrei Tarkovsky is directing. All I'm saying is if you plan on making a movie of mostly filler, then at least give us characters who are fun to watch.

The killer
Do You Wanna Know a Secret? is an incredibly predictable movie that is in a genre that is already filled with overly cliche and predictable entries. The premise isn't that interesting, and the execution doesn't make up for any shortcomings that the script has. The only real reason that I watched it is because I was curious to see Joey Lawrence in a horror movie since all that I remember of him was Blossom and that show and movies that he made with his brothers.

All in all, I would say that if you skip this movie, then you won't be missing much. This would definitely be most entertaining for fans of this particular time period of teen horror flicks, or Joey Lawrence fans, but I think that most would find it stupid and/or boring. Some hooters could have really broken up the monotony of it all, but I guess you can't everything. In other words, watch at your own risk.


Oh yeah...whoa*

*Obligatory Joey Lawrence 'whao' reference. As per Connecticut State Statute 315 article 12, any article, blog or obituary that contains the name 'Joey Lawrence' must have no less than 3 'whao' references per 1000 words. 

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