fter her husband of 7 years leaves her because, as he
tells his best friend, he wants to screw hot chicks (or something to that
effect), career woman Lara (Joyce Hyser) puts everything on hold to go about the
"art of revenge". And that, I'm afraid, is as substantial as "Art
of Revenge" gets.
If you're looking for deep characters, the Jerk played by
Stephan Jenkins (in an embarrassing piece of "acting") is as deep as
you'll get, which is not very deep at all. Actually, the only intriguing aspect
of "Revenge" is trying to figure out why writer/director Simon Gornick
cast Tembi Locke, a black woman, as the wife of Ben (David DeLuise), who is
white. Did he plan it all along? Or did Gornick realized, halfway through
shooting, that he was missing a minority face? Ah yes, it's these little
irrelevant thoughts that keep me awake during films like "Revenge".
Having left his wife, who had supported him all these 7
years while he tried to establish a career of his own, Matt (Jenkins) does what
he told Ben he wants to do -- screw hot chicks like screwing hot chicks is going
out of style sometime soon. Meanwhile, Lara isn't the type of woman to take
being used and then tossed away without some vindictive urges rising to the
Of course being that Matt is basically a brainless oaf, it
doesn't take much for Lara to direct him into the arms of Tuesday (Nichole
Hiltz), a professional conwoman and temptress. Under the employment of Lara,
conwoman Tuesday maneuvers the traitorous Romeo into a final doom -- or
something "doom"-ish like that. Point is, she's really ticked off and
wants some serious payback. Although why she keeps going back to Matt and
pretending she's all over the break-up, and now just wants to be friends
"like they used to be", is something of a mystery. I guess she enjoys
suffering and hiding it.
As the film progresses, one gets the feeling that Tuesday
has something else up her sleeve. Which leads me to this conclusion: Maybe
hiring the woman who stole your wallet to seduce your ex-husband wasn't such a
good idea. Maybe Lara isn't as clever as I thought, and maybe she's just as big
an oaf as Matt, despite the fact that the screenplay keeps trying to convince us
they're both really educated and cultured. Although I have to admit that
listening to Matt regurgitate intellectual nonsense is pretty entertaining stuff
-- mostly because the actor is just not up to the task.
Before you start getting the wrong impression, let me set
you straight. "Art of Revenge" is all about titillation and no
follow-through. And I do mean not a single follow-through. When Matt goes
through L.A.'s women populace with the speed of a rhino, we're told about it but
never shown. When Tuesday seduces and has sex with DeLuise in a motel, we just
see the aftermath. The movie looks and feels like the Skin Flicks that fill up
Cinemax's late-night schedules, but it's all tease. Or, to put it bluntly,
"Art of Revenge" is a Cinemax Skin Flicks but with all the naughty
bits edited out. Except in this case there was never any "naughty
bits" to edit out.
The result is a poor film that tries to seduce, but it's
all too superficial to take seriously. The film's only saving grace is Joyce
Hyser, who is a terrific actress and sells her scorned woman with aplomb.
Nichole Hiltz comes from the Jaime Pressley school of acting, what with her
feline-ish features and low, whispery line delivery. Hiltz is undoubly gorgeous,
but she's as convincing as a Femme Fatale as Stephan Jenkins is as an
The movie is very short at just 85 minutes of running time,
with the last 10 minutes saved for a ludicrous twist ending that makes the
mind-boggling twists and turns of "Basic"
seem coherent by comparison. Besides Hyser, the only other thing "Art of
Revenge" can brag about is the cinematography by Patrice Lucien Cochet. The
movie is obviously low budget, with only a couple of locations making up the
entire film; also, the cast is kept to a manageable minimum. And yet, with
Cochet's help, the movie is aesthetically pleasing, with some nice interior work
that, in other hands (and taking into consideration the budget), would have
become yet another victim of non-existent production values.
"Art of Revenge" also went by the alternate title
of "Angelic Tuesday", not that it matters since whatever title it goes
by, the film is too much promise and no delivery. The whole thing is so tame
that the movie could have been shown on the Lifetime basic cable network in
complete fashion with only the swear words bleeped out.