A critic's wishful thinking or a Hollywood reality? Bruce Fretts weighs in

By Bruce Fretts
Updated April 27, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT
  • Movie

”Gossip”’s flop may signal the end of the teen movie trend

Word has it that Warner Bros.’ teen flick, ”Gossip,” generated almost no noise at the box office last weekend, opening in 12th place with a mere $2.3 million. What went wrong with this once-promising Hollywood property? As it turns out, just about everything.

”Gossip” didn’t benefit from being the second collegiate thriller costarring ”Dawson’s Creek” heartthrob Joshua Jackson to be released in less than a month. In fact, ”Gossip” made less in its first weekend than Jackson’s other current movie, ”The Skulls,” did in its third.

Although Jackson’s face was featured prominently in the TV ads for ”Gossip,” his role is relatively minor compared to the movie’s true stars: James Marsden, Lena Headey, and Norman Reedus. Or as they’re known to 99 percent of America: What’s-his-name?, Who’s-that?, and Huh? They play a trio of college roomies who start a nasty rumor about two classmates (Jackson and Kate Hudson, who’s famous only for being Goldie Hawn’s daughter) that soon shatters lives.

Bigger-name stars might have helped, but Americans may finally be tired of the teen-movie trend. After the surprise success of ”Varsity Blues” (starring Jackson’s ”Dawson’s Creek” mate James Van Der Beek) and ”She’s All That” in early 1999, studios jumped on the adolescent bandwagon, greenlighting way too many generic flicks for the Backstreet Boys/’N Sync crowd. This year alone, we’ve already seen ”Down to You,” ”Drive Me Crazy,” ”Here on Earth,” ”Whatever It Takes,” and others come and go with barely a box office pimple.

Actually, ”Gossip” isn’t all that god-awful. The beguiling Headey and the intriguing Reedus have genuine star potential, the supporting cast is solid (Sharon Lawrence, Edward James Olmos, Eric Bogosian), and the plot moves along swiftly in 90 minutes. There’s even a twist ending — if only ”The Sixth Sense” hadn’t used that marketing angle.

In the end, ”Gossip” was a victim of its own lack of hype. The moral of its story is that talking can be dangerous, but in Hollywood, not talking can be even deadlier.


  • Movie
  • R
  • 90 minutes
  • Davis Guggenheim