Kaboom (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner08/06/2011

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 83 mins

Enjoyable, stylishly directed teen sci-fi comedy with a gleefully bonkers script, a strong cast and a star-making supporting turn from Juno Temple, though it's all a bit too chaotic to really engage on an emotional level.

What's it all about?
Gregg Araki returns to his apocalyptic teen movie roots with Kaboom, a sci-fi teen comedy set on an unnamed California college campus. Thomas Dekker plays Smith, a “sexually undeclared” college freshman who's content to pass his time swapping caustic barbs with lesbian best friend Stella (Haley Bennett), lusting after surfer dude roommate Thor (Chris Zylka) and shagging sexy Brit chick London (Juno Temple), until he witnesses a murder while on the way home from a drug-fuelled party.

At first, Smith thinks he has just hallucinated the whole thing, but he's haunted by dreams of the red haired victim (Nicole LaLiberte), who may or may not be dead after all. And as if that wasn't bad enough, he and his friends then uncover evidence of a secret end of the world plot that apparently involves the father Smith thought was dead and Smith himself being anointed as The Chosen One.

The Good
It may be somewhat reductive to describe Araki's style as John Hughes on Acid, but that's precisely the effect he seems to be going for, with bright, day-glo colours and a cast comprised of good-looking, witty teens who know their way around a spot of sarcasm (London's speech where she coaches an unsatisfactory lover is a particular highlight). There are also deliberate lifts from films such as Donnie Darko (the cult members wear animal masks) as well as more than a hint of David Lynch about the general proceedings.

Dekker makes an appealing, if deliberately vacuous lead and there's strong support from both Haley Bennett and Roxane Mesquida as a jealous lesbian witch who's obsessed with Stella. However, the film is roundly stolen by a smoking hot Juno Temple, who nabs all the best lines and delivers a star-making turn that should see her leap-frogging up the list of current Hollywood starlets.

The Bad
The attractive cast play the whole thing admirably straight, but the gleefully bonkers script is ultimately too chaotic for its apocalyptic plot to engage on an emotional level (unlike with, say, Donnie Darko) and it eventually begins to feel like a nihilistic exercise in style over substance.

Worth seeing?
Kaboom is an enjoyable teen sci-fi comedy that won't disappoint Araki fans and is definitely worth seeing, though it's not quite as funny or as sharp as it could have been.

Film Trailer

Kaboom (15)
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Content updated: 20/06/2018 22:18

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