The Nymphets

The dictionary defines a nymphet as “a young girl who is sexually precocious and desirable.” I would define the film as a wasteland of talent and energy. One of the running themes this year at SXSW is the exploration of strong female roles both on and off-screen. “The Nymphets” is a counter product compared with another SXSW film, “Trainwreck.” In that film, Amy Schumer’s character says, yelling at a bunch of cheerleaders, “You guys are going to lose us the right to vote,” which ironically made me think of the women in this film. Writer/director Gary Gardner seems very understanding of today’s popular female social media culture, and by that, I mean the girls who use the word “like” at least three times in a sentence.

The Nymphets
The Nymphets

Headed home from work, 39-year-old Joseph (Kip Pardue) helps two 18-year-old girls escape a sticky situation with a security guard. Impressed by his kindness, flattered by his attention and good looks, the girls invite themselves back to his place. Once there, they all begin popping pills and drinking. Brittney (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) and Allyson (Jordan Lane Price) toy and tease Joe about his girlfriend, who is cheating on him, his boring job, and the desperation of his situation. They take turns making out with him, pushing his limits uncomfortably, and expressing desire without allowing him to act on it. Things take a turn for the worse when a third girl is added to the mix. Joe is encouraged to call his girlfriend, and they begin to practice the ‘pass-out game.’

A wasteland of talent and energy.

A teenage girl giggling for 73 minutes isn’t my idea of fun or even a weird good time. “The Nymphets” doesn’t move much as a film since the actors are confined within the apartment (besides a short motorcycle ride) for the duration of the story. Scenes last up to 8 minutes, and the free-hand camera follows the three or four people around as they take turns angering and teasing each other. Gardner says all the characters are various manifestations of himself, but his sly grin wasn’t convincing. These girls seem more representative of the Lindsay Lohan or Miley Cyrus culture of drugs, partying, and lack of character. Price said she saw these girls as independent and free, but I just found them spoiled, slutty and annoying.

Pardue, who rose to fame in the early 2000s with “Remember the Titans” and “Driven,” has since faded into obscure roles offering him little or no creativity. Here, he plays a social media version of James Franco, conservative in his aggression towards the advances from the girls, and then suddenly becomes the aggressor. There is a sense of mind manipulation to the story or a mild sense of torture, although no one is brutalized, nor is there ever any sex, which is ironic given the title. The characters wallow through their time on screen, giving the viewer little or nothing to grasp, only to witness, like a voyeur, the degradation of youth.

Final Thought

An uninspired giggle-fest tease with no rhyme or reason.


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