Review: CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, Seduction Of A Willing Teen Boy

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas (@peteramartin)
Review: CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, Seduction Of A Willing Teen Boy

A teenage boy's fantasy come to life, Careful What You Wish For also carries with it a wallop of moral judgment.

Virginal high school student Doug (Nick Jonas) returns with his parents to their longtime summer home overlooking Lake Lure (?!). While a plethora of young, slender women in bikinis cavort nearby, studious Doug carries a box of books to his room. From there he notices a couple checking out the rental house next door, especially a tall, willowy blonde who catches his peeping eye.

Doug soon joins his gregarious best friend Carson (Graham Rogers) at the restaurant where they will work for the summer. As Carson optimistically tries to chat up every girl they pass, Doug broods, convinced no one will ever go for him. He doesn't have to brood in solitude for very long, however, as he soon learns that the tall, willowy blonde has indeed moved in next door.

Her name is Lena (Isabel Lucas) and she is married to Elliot (Dermot Mulroney), a maverick investor of some sort who is obscenely wealthy and already bored with his trophy wife. He is frequently away on business trips and that leaves poor Lena very, very lonely. What's the poor woman to do but seduce the teenage boy next door?

Naturally, Doug is too naive to ever wonder why a sexy, often barely draped, married woman would want him so badly and so recklessly. She compliments him on his lovemaking skills after their first night together -- 'What? You're a virgin?!' -- and soon talks dreamily about running away with the young man. Before anyone can say Body Heat three times, Doug is besotted and ready to do anything for Lena.

IMPAwards_CarefulWhatYouWihFor-300.jpgLawrence Kasdan's Body Heat (1981) redefined the femme fatale for the modern age and Careful What You Wish For is made in that spirit, though it falls far short of that gold standard. It's not just that the sexuality is carefully tasteful, as opposed to raunchy and dirty, or that the narrative is overly familiar, featuring dialogue that's serviceable rather than snappy.

Those creative choices might have been overcome, or at least enlivened, by powerhouse performances. Unfortunately, neither Jonas nor Lucas are up to the task. In the case of Lucas, she certainly looks the part of a winsome object of attraction, but without a partner to create any friction or heat, she is a lonely creature indeed.

That leaves Jonas, who certainly looks the part of an innocent teenage boy at the beginning of the movie. But the movie is a twisted coming of age tale, calling on the boy to become a man, at least to some degree. As played by Jonas, though, poor Doug remains a pleasant wallflower, a victim in waiting.

Perhaps the idea is that Doug matures sexually but not otherwise, leaving him prey to an emotional predator such as Lena? If so, then the film functions as a cautionary tale, which would certainly explain why it stops dead at a certain point and begins to follow characters other than Doug and Lena with much greater interest. Chris Fisina's original screenplay sets things up quickly, but without much in the way of characterization to fall back on when circumstances become more desperate.

Director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum has worked extensively in television since making her feature debut with Aquamarine back in 2006 and her experience is reflected, in that she makes the most out of the material at hand. Rogier Stoffers' cinematography is a consistent pleasure to watch. Among the supporting cast, Paul Sorvino delivers an especially good turn as a sheriff who likes working in a small town and Dermot Mulroney is reliable as ever as the somewhat creepy husband.

Careful What You Wish For runs about 91 minutes, which is definitely in its favor, as that's about as long as its slender structure can stand up to inspection before falling apart. Just don't look too closely.

The film will open in select theaters on June 10 and will also be available to watch via various Video On Demand platforms the same day via Starz Digital.

Screen Anarchy logo
Do you feel this content is inappropriate or infringes upon your rights? Click here to report it, or see our DMCA policy.
Dermot MulroneyElizabeth Allen RosenbaumIsabel LucasNick Jonas

Around the Internet