• Girls Against Boys



    Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released on: February 26, 2013.
    Director: Austin Chick
    Cast: Danielle Panabaker, Nicole LaLiberta
    Year: 2012
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    The Movie:

    Dear class - today's word is "misandry".

    At the risk of treading into decidedly dangerous and divisive political waters it has always amused me to see the vitriol directed at some films by a small but vocal conservative minority for their supposedly "anti-male" views. Often, the "art" used to back up these positions was something as silly as a sitcom with a doltish dad and super-smart mom or even movies with really tough women (so unbelievable!). Certain areas, like the perceived undue focus on men as rapists and sexual abusers may be worthy of further discussion but my general feeling was always pretty simple: I just don't see it, and if I do it is in the context of a film that probably has plenty of other stereotypes and exaggerations as well.

    Well, as they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Welcome to BOYS AGAINST GIRLS. This one is exhibit A the next time some someone wants to show an example of misandry on film. This one is it folks.

    But first, I'm afraid I'm going to have to list my bona fides. I consider the original I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE an often misunderstood classic of grindhouse feminism. I think Abel Ferrara's MS. 45 is a beautifully shot piece of art with some genuinely provocative ideas about religion and the base impulses of abusive men. And Gaspar Noe's IRREVERSIBLE manages the almost impossible feat of engendering enormous sympathy for sexually abused women while simultaneously depicting one of the most brutal assaults ever captured on film.

    GIRLS AGAINST BOYS, on the other hand, would be offensive it weren't so aggressively stupid in how it goes about its business. This is artless and witless trash that cannot even raise chuckles - just drop jaws. The plot is nonexistent - college girl/bartender Shae (Danielle Panabaker) is dating a married/separated/something older man who dumps her. She is then befriended by uber-creepy Lu (Nicole LaLiberte) who is basically a man-hating serial killer looking for a partner in crime. They initially bond over Shae's getting dumped but then the cliches start really rolling in. The two girls head to a Brooklyn loft party where Shae is raped by a guy who initially seems sympathetic. He's also the last remotely believable male character we will encounter in this sad, sorry mess.

    Up until this point GAB has been a fairly straightforward if unremarkable film. The man who rapes Shae at the party is a monster - but a depressingly plausible date rapist. After Shae reports him to the police (in the films most startlingly ludicrous scene) and is told by the cop on duty that "you look fine" Lu decides to start killing every man that gets in their way - with Shae as an instant no questions asked accomplice. The cop scene stands out as hilariously idiotic. Anyone familiar with even the most basic knowledge of law enforcement recognizes that the way this officer behaves makes no sense and would actually get him fired immediately in the real world.

    The other problem is Lu - who's meant to be sexy but it is actually strangely repulsive. She asks men bluntly if they'd like to have sex with her and we are meant to believe she's irresistible to men. Only idiotic men with a death wish - she is so clearly unbalanced that any men taking up her offer are frankly too dumb to live.

    Panabaker is an utter cypher with facial expressions that run the gamut from blank to bored. There is a torture scene where the girls track down the party rapist and cut him up SAW-style where she looks like she's contemplating which latte to order. Compared to Camille Keaton's brave and sympathetic work in the original I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE or the enigmatic turn by Zoë Tamerlis in MS. 45 Panabaker is pathetic.

    Finally we are left with a movie about a couple of girls that slaughter some guys who aren't even all that evil. Aside from the rapist, the victims are just Brooklyn hipsters who's only crime is not answering questions fast enough or being a vaguely philandering dude. As a feminist manifesto it's pretty weak sauce and when we get to the inevitable lesbian angle the outrage has long faded. This junk doesn't even raise the hackles that the risible I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE remake did.

    There is one amusing thing of note however. Checking Rotten Tomatoes this nonsense has a thoroughly dismal score except for a couple of thumbs up from young women who think its some kind of girl power flick. If they can get a little catharsis after being mistreated by some guy from this then this cinematic trash heap will have provided SOME use to the world.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Anchor Bay's MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.78:1 encode for GIRLS AGAINST BOYS is actually almost flawless. The film was shot on HD video so it has a very smooth appearance but image detail is outstanding. Facial close ups are especially excellent as are environmental elements like building interiors. Blacks are deep and there is no visible crush. Finally there is no evidence of digital tampering.

    The audio is a strong Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless track that delivers punch and bottom end in the club scenes and dialog front and center when called for. Not a lot here to report - it's a solid track with only moderate surround action - but then this isn't DIE HARD 5 is it? There are also subtitles in Spanish and English.

    The only extra is an audio commentary with director Austin Chick (a man! Irony alert!) and actress Panabaker. It's noticeable in its dullness considering the hot-button themes in the film and has a fair amount of dead air. Location shooting, casting and some scattered anecdotes may be of mild interest to some but I was surprised how little anything controversial was discussed.

    The Final word:

    One of the problems when panning a film - especially an exploitation one - is running the risk of making a lousy film sound perversely appealing. This isn't some amusing howler or hardassed classic of confrontational cinema that just managed to offend my delicate sensibilities. It's dull and inept junk only of interest to those looking for an example of witless man-hating onscreen.

    Highly NOT recommended.

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    Comments 1 Comment
    1. sukebanboy's Avatar
      sukebanboy -
      he victims are just Brooklyn hipsters
      That is enough evidence right there for slaughter!!