The Skulls

on March 31, 2000 by Tim Cogshell
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   Joshua Jackson of television's "Dawson's Creek" and such teen films as "Urban Legend" plays a young townie named Luke who's working his way through Yale and is looking at a six-digit debt to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer. Because of his championship rowing skills, he's tapped as a candidate for membership in The Skulls, an ultra-secret society--if you ignore the giant gothic building on campus with the huge skull on top--which is reputed to hold the key to every member's dreams. For Luke, it means a full ticket to the law school of his choice. Of course, to join the Skulls, Luke will have to distance himself from friends, including his best buddy and roommate Will (Hill Harper of "In Too Deep" and "Get On The Bus"), who happens to be an investigative reporter for the Yale newspaper. When Will gets too close to the goings-on of this secret society (that everyone seems to know about), he comes up dead, and Luke is hell-bent on uncovering the connection.
   A horribly nit-witted film, "The Skulls'" biggest offense may be that it doesn't know just how bad it is, instead hanging itself out there as a deep and probing look into the secret societies found in the Ivy League circles that have spawned generations of our nation's leaders. As if that's not pompous enough, it then offends further by being a display of some of the worst writing and filmmaking ever captured for the screen. Writer John Pogue ("U.S. Marshals") and director Rob Cohen ("Daylight") provide their actors woefully little to work with. Co-stars Paul Walker ("Varsity Blues") and Leslie Bibb (TV's "Popular") are afflicted with some of the dumbest dialogue ever written. Lines like, "Dad, I killed a guy in the ceremony room," will ring infamously among unintentionally funny dialogue forever. The film is, in fact, just that. Unintentionally funny throughout. Perhaps the only reason to see it...on video. On discount night. Starring Joshua Jackson, Paul Walker, Hill Harper, Leslie Bibb, Craig T. Nelson, Christopher McDonald, Steve Harris and William Petersen. Directed and written by Rob Cohen. Produced by Neal Moritz and John Pogue. A Universal release. Thriller. Rated PG-13 for some violence and sexuality. Running time 107 min
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