Stark Raving Mad (15)

Review by Jack Foley



SEANN William Scott, better known as the foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed Stifler from the American Pie series, makes his bid to break away from that image by appearing in a film produced by the man who also delivered Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs.

But any notion that Stark Raving Mad is another to rival those gangster classics is dispelled from the outset, given the ineptitude and sheer mindless stupidity of what’s on offer here.

Scott plays Ben McGewen, a small-time hood who uses a stint as a rave club organiser as a flimsy cover for his motley crew to break into the bank next door, thus getting one over local crime lord, Mr Gregory (Lou Diamond Phillips), and avenging the death of his brother.

The trick is to create enough noise in the club upstairs to smother the sound of the drilling and explosions below but, as with every perfect plan, it comes with an unseen set of flaws.

McGewen hasn’t reckoned on a rogue pair of FBI agents running amok in the club, the presence of his mixed-up ex-girlfriend sniffing around the scene, and the club’s irritable owner, who would rather the noise levels were kept to a minimum.

But given that our ‘hero’ needs the priceless artefact locked inside the bank to pay off his brother’s killer, it is little wonder that he will stop at nothing to get the job done, even if it means relying on one of the most inept crews in bank heist history to do so.

The ensuing chaos is mind-numbingly awful, played out against the incessant beat of a rave club that doesn’t even afford the viewer the possibility of dozing off.

That Scott emerges with any credit surely suggests that there is life beyond the Stifler persona for the charismatic young actor (he will next be paired with Chow Yun Fat in Bullet-Proof Monk), but his presence alone cannot save the movie.

The rest of the cast is uniformly awful (with Phillips the pick of the bunch), while the so-called twists and turns add little to the genre - in fact, writer-directors Drew Daywalt and David Schneider seem merely content to rip better films off.

All of which leads me to conclude that you’d be ‘stark raving mad’ to want to see this mess in the first place.