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Saturday, December 03, 2016

Tart

Tart, from 2002, is another one of those "poor little rich kids" movies. Yes, they may have trust funds and live on Park Avenue, but they're ignored by their parents ya da, ya da, ya da. The best film about privileged kids in New York was Whit Stillman's Metropolitan, which didn't make the mistake of asking us to feel sorry for these kids, instead it made them full-rounded characters. In Tart, writer/director Christina Wayne is throwing a pity party, and I'm not buying it.

Dominique Swain is the lead, the girl who isn't as rich as the others and just doesn't quite fit in at the private school she attends. Her best friend is a hellion, and she longs for the attention of a cute boy who is in reality a drug addict and thief. Her mother is stern, but of course is only interested in her daughter's well-being.

Swain, who seems to have led a scandal-free life, is surrounded by a who's who of troubled young performers. The best friend is Bijou Phillips, daughter of Papa John; Mischa Barton is another friend, and she spent time in a psychiatric ward, and the boy is Brad Renfro, who died from a heroin overdose. If only Lindsay Lohan were available.

Wayne never directed another movie, but did work in television in some great shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men. Tart is well meaning but just incompetent and obvious. The greatest trick Wayne did here is somehow getting the New York City Parks Department to clear a swath of Central Park. How else could we get a high crane shot of Bethesda Fountain, during daylight, with no one there?

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