"Choosing Lust Over Responsibility"
What You Need To Know:
STATESIDE is needlessly convoluted when the story is simple. It wears a soap opera aesthetic on its sleeve, which is borne out in the overcooked acting and plot turns. STATESIDE also suffers from inattention to production values, as it is set in 1980 but sometimes looks like 1965 or 1999. Extremely casual attitudes toward alcohol and sex make it inappropriate for teenagers, but it’s doubtful that many people have heard of this movie or will want to see it. A clumsy piece of melodrama, even the least sophisticated viewer would roll his eyes at STATESIDE.
(RoRo, C, P, B, ACap, PC, Ab, LLL, V, SS, NNN, AA, D, MM) Romantic worldview in which immature attachments are more important than health or wise choices, with a priest who forgives a boy for causing him to be paralyzed, Marines who do their duty by going overseas to fight, anti-capitalist elements related to politically correct class envy, and a brief sarcastic mockery of the priest; 25 obscenities and eight profanities; boy’s finger stapled by Marine sergeant and war wounds shown; fornication implied several times with several different couples, group sex implied which was possibly forced on the woman, high school students make crude sex remarks, students exchange sexually explicit letters, and a mother reads aloud one of the explicit letters; upper male nudity, girls shown in underwear before and after fornicating, full frontal female nudity in a strip club; teenagers drink alcohol frequently, often while driving; teenagers smoke cigarettes frequently, but no drug use; and, boy sneaks mentally ill girl out of hospital and drinking and driving not severely enough rebuked.
STATESIDE is an ill-executed melodrama featuring teenage movie star Rachel Leigh Cook and a cast of recognizable but not immediately nameable young actors. It’s about a privileged high school boy, named Mark Deloach, from Connecticut who enters the Marines rather than go to jail for a drunk driving accident. The day after his car wreck, a pretty, mysterious girl captures his attention. After a stint at boot camp, he returns home and finds her. As it turns out, she is Dori Lawrence, a slightly famous movie actress undergoing treatment for schizophrenia. Her mental illness makes their love affair complicated, but the new Marine is determined to make it work.
The young Mark is played earnestly and effectively by Jonathan Tucker. He is the brightest spot in an otherwise dreary movie. Mark is maddening, however, in his single-mindedness. He runs away from the Marine installation each weekend to see Dori. He disregards his training and responsibilities, in addition to her mental health and the treatment she is receiving, just so they can spend time together – time which is mostly spent fornicating. Eventually he proposes, so he does have some honorable intentions, but sneaking a schizophrenic patient out of a mental hospital so that he can seduce her is questionable behavior, at the very best.
STATESIDE is needlessly convoluted when the story is somewhat simple. It wears a soap opera aesthetic on its sleeve, which is borne out in the overcooked acting and plot turns. STATESIDE also suffers from inattention to production values, as it is officially set in 1980 but alternately seems to take place in 1945, 1965, and 1999. The editing is clumsy and sometimes inexplicable, as if the editor was intoxicated.
STATESIDE is inappropriate for teenage audiences, because of its extremely casual attitudes toward alcohol and sex, but it’s doubtful that many people have heard of this movie or will want to see it. A clumsy piece of melodrama, even the least sophisticated viewer would roll their eyes at STATESIDE.