Film review: 'Mini' is latest in series of trampy teen movies

Published: Friday, Oct. 13 2006 12:00 a.m. MDT

Alec Baldwin, Carrie-Anne Moss and Nikki Reed star in the film.

First Independent Pictures

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MINI'S FIRST TIME — ** — Nikki Reed, Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson; rated R (sex, violence, profanity, drugs, vulgarity, nude artwork); see Page W2 for theaters.

The idea behind "Mini's First Time" isn't all that original. It is, after all, the latest in a series of trampy-teen-gone-bad films (look up "The Opposite of Sex" and "Poison Ivy" for other examples). It's not nearly as amusing as the former, nor is it as deliriously trashy as the latter. And about halfway through, the film unwisely changes its tone, from dark comedy to straight-up dramatic thriller.

The title refers to Mini (Nikki Reed), a spoiled-rich teen who has it in for her drunken, failed-actress mother, Diane (Carrie-Anne Moss).

So the rebellious Mini joins an escort agency, where one of her first clients turns out to be her unsuspecting stepfather, Martin (Alec Baldwin).

He's horrified at first, but later becomes her unwilling partner in crime as Mini schemes to drive her mother mad — by drugging Diane's morning cocktails and trying to make her doubt her sanity.

Up-and-coming actress Reed ("Thirteen," TV's "The O.C.") doesn't have the presence to carry off this type of role, and consequently, she's not very convincing.

It doesn't help that first-time screenwriter/director Nick Guthe created such a superficial group of characters. Few, if any, seem believable or are interesting enough to care about. (Moss's character is one-note, and Luke Wilson is annoyingly bland as a homicide detective.)

Still, Baldwin has some fun with the material, as does Jeff Goldblum, who plays a sleazy television producer.

"Mini's First Time" is rated R for scenes of simulated sex and other sexual contact, a couple of scenes of strong violence (domestic violence and some brawling), strong sexual language (profanity, other suggestive talk and some crudities), drug content (prescription drug abuse and misuse), and glimpses of nude artwork (paintings and drawings). Running time: 91 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com