The Informers (15)

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I realised halfway through this spotty LA ensemble that I'd actually read the Bret Easton Ellis book from which it's adapted.,/p>

It must have been the bored, affectless tone that reminded me, or else the absence of a single character I cared two hoots about. Ellis as screenwriter returns to the scene of his debut bestseller Less Than Zero – the fast times and slow wits of moneyed urbanites – and to its era, the early 1980s, allowing him not only a second bite at cheesy rock music and coke-fuelled excess but a completely bogus requiem to the Aids generation. Strands of plot waft around like summer pollen. A philandering TV executive (Billy Bob Thornton) pretends to reconcile with his wife (Kim Basinger) while still holding a torch for his newscaster lover (Winona Ryder); a loathsome rock star (Mel Raido) beats up a groupie; a doorman (Brad Renfro) finds himself entangled in the kidnapping scheme of his degenerate uncle (Mickey Rourke) – and so, enervatingly, on. Director Gregor Jordan seems to have gone into reverse since his 2001 Buffalo Soldiers, aiming for the LA rondeau of Altman's Short Cuts but missing all the vital ingredients – wit, humanity, charm, nuance and meaning.

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