Fascination

on January 28, 2005 by Tim Cogshell
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Save for the extraordinary presence of the still alluring Jacqueline Bisset, "Fascination" holds little of its namesake quality for any audience forced to sit through it. It begins interestingly enough -- using the charge of raw sex to hook the audience in ways the narrative certainly will not -- then tapes off quickly. We watch as Patrick Doherty (James Naughton) apparently dies in a swimming accident -- an odd occurrence, since he was a noted swimmer. This doesn't go unnoticed by his son, Scott (Adam Garcia, "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen"), who literally says, "...but he was a noted swimmer." It's also pretty shady when Patrick's wife Maureen (Bisset) returns from a cruise shortly after the accident with a new boyfriend and his daughter in tow.

There are shades of Hamlet, which is in itself trite, but that pales in light of the rest of the foolishness at play. A particularly steamy sex scene on the edge of a rooftop, in the rain, is also just plain rote when it should be titillating. Usually, a hot, pointless encounter between lovely people is great, but here it's actually grating. Perhaps this is because the balance of the film is so nonsensical that not even sex can sell it. Starring Jacqueline Bisset, Adam Garcia, Alice Evans, Stuart Wilson and James Naughton. Directed by Klaus Menzel. Written by Daryl Haney and John Jacobs. Produced by Klaus Menzel. An MGM release. Thriller/Drama. Rated R for strong sexuality, and for language. Running time: 95 min

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