Think adolescence is a bitch? Try being a former teen dream standing at the crossroads. Cover stories have dropped away, the mailbag is empty, and you can’t play sweet 16 anymore without getting horselaughs. So you try to stretch — if you’re Molly Ringwald, ’80s movie sweetheart, you play a psycho in the straight-to-video Malicious (1995, Republic, R, priced for rental), and if you’re aging 90210 pinup Jason Priestley, you play a cranially challenged hitman in the barely released Mob comedy Coldblooded (1995, PolyGram, R, priced for rental).
Let’s give credit where credit is due: Both Ringwald and Priestley are trying to bust out of the narrow little boxes in which fame has placed them. But let’s also call a spade a spade: Molly Ringwald as a kill-crazy femme fatale is about as scary as a pair of bunny slippers. A poor man’s Fatal Attraction, Malicious casts her as a med student who lures a college baseball star (Patrick McGaw) into a carnal weekend, only to bug out when he returns to his girlfriend. But the clipped, tart voice that made Ringwald’s teen roles fresh isn’t suited for melodrama, and, I’m sorry, watching her nude scene feels like spying on Sis in the shower.
Priestley fares better in the droll Coldblooded. As Cosmo, a thug who discovers that he’s a really good assassin, he woefully pursues each thought as if it were a marble rolling just out of reach. Peter Riegert too is hilarious as his mentor (”Guns don’t kill people. We kill people”). The movie never rises above its one joke, but it suggests that Priestley is smart enough to work within his limitations. On the other hand, 90210 is still on the air, and he’s not desperate. Yet. Malicious: D+ Coldblooded: B