Cruel Intentions 3

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgas..., Common Sense Media
Cruel Intentions 3 Movie Poster Image
Bored students use sex to manipulate friends; rape, cursing.
  • R
  • 2004
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

People without scruples don't care about the feelings of others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While Jason, Cassidy, and Patrick are all extremely bright, their cynicism and ability to block out positive emotions -- like love -- make them turn their gifts into weapons against more trusting and gullible acquaintances.

Violence

Using blackmail, a man forces himself sexually on a woman who had previously turned him down. A woman frames a man for a crime he didn't commit.
 

Sex

Couples seen having sex. A nude woman's back seen as she's astride a man during sex. Women's breasts and men's bare chests seen. Clothed women's panties are removed, no genitals seen. A clothed man and woman have sex standing up on a beach. A reference is made to premature ejaculation. A man mentions the attractiveness of his "big bulging ... brain," referring to his penis.
 

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "ass," "t-ts," "hell," and "p---y."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink alcohol and take sleeping pills. Characters from previous films in the series are said to be dead or in methadone programs.
 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cruel Intentions 3 is the third installment in the Cruel Intentions series, originally inspired by the notorious 1782 French psychological novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Manipulative and cynical college students use schemes, subterfuge, and psychological game-playing to break up happy couples and trick classmates into sex. One player uses photos to extort sex in exchange for silence, thus perpetrating a rape. Women's breasts are seen. Couples having sex are seen. Clothed women's panties are removed but no nudity is shown. A reference is made to premature ejaculation. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," and "p---y." Adults drink alcohol and take sleeping pills. Characters from previous films in the series are said to be dead or in methadone programs.

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What's the story?

In its exploration of sick psychology and evil goals, CRUEL INTENTIONS 3 does offer some parallels to Dangerous Liaisons, the 18th-century French novel that inspired this series. Bored with normal life and reluctant to admit their love for each other and the weakness it might imply, practiced manipulators Cassidy (Kristina Anapau) and Jason (Kerr Smith) take perverse pleasure in destroying the happy relationships of others. Equally creepy and cruel is Patrick (Nathan Wetherington), who takes such games further than even Jason and Cassidy are willing to go. After getting nowhere sexually with Alison, who is engaged to a guy back home, Patrick proposes a bet with Jason. To win, Patrick breaks Alison's resistance to infidelity by paying an attractive guy to have sex with her. He takes pictures of the encounter and threatens to send them to her family and fiancé unless she has sex with him. Their sexual encounter is nothing less than rape. For his part, Jason uses somewhat more conventional seduction to get Sheila to cheat on her boyfriend, Michael -- something Jason forces her to do while she's on the phone with Michael. Audible heavy breathing ensues. It seems as if Jason and Cassidy are ready to acknowledge their bond as a couple, but their true natures succumb yet again to the thrill of the conquest of others.

Is it any good?

The fact that none of the leading characters seem to have any scruples or genuine human emotions churns the story into a boring repetition of one inexplicable betrayal after another. These college students, all played by actors who look far older than college age, are the equivalent of little kids who enjoy pulling the wings off of flies. How much of that is an audience willing to watch?

Perhaps that is the part viewers will ignore, drawn instead to the soft-core porn nature of the couplings. Monogamous women devoted to their men are supposedly open to pleasure offered by scheming Jason and Patrick, succumbing like falling dominoes, making this movie a kind of male fantasy. Apparently women just need to be whispered to and touched the right way and no amount of loyalty to others will stop them from bedding bad boys. That's the fundamental sentiment underlying the movie and also what makes it unintentionally comic. Sex is a competitive sport in which champions are certifiable jerks. Cruel Intentions 3 depicts a bizarre universe in which everyone is a victim just waiting to be victimized by those smart, wily, and twisted enough to take advantage.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the message viewers come away with after watching Cruel Intentions 3 and seeing mean people play tricks on each other and on innocents. Do you think there's anything useful to learn from watching such behavior?

  • Many of the victims of the game seem incapable of saying no to sex. Do you think that's realistic? Why or why not?

  • Does this movie suggest that rape is often a tool of revenge and violence and that rapists are seeking power rather than pursuing pleasure? What plot points might support this notion?

Movie details

For kids who love school stories

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